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CiOVT. COLLEGE, LIBR^ilY 


KOTA (Raj.) 

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THE LIVES 


or 

THE FATHERS, MARTYRS 

AND OTHER PRINaPAL 


SAINTS 





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SAINT TERESA OF LISIEUX 

I ■r'l'' 'vT" "u^’’' sood God au.nht but love, and it is with love that He will repay. After mv death 
y.il! let fall a shower of roses. 1 cresa joined the Carmelite order at the early age of fifteen She lived 
only a lew years out her teaching of "The LitUc Way” to, Jesus has spanned the whole world. 



THE LIVES 

0 ¥ 

THE FATHERS, MARTYRS 

AND OTHER PRINCIPAL 


SAINT 


By THE Rev. ALBAN BUTLER 

EDITED FOR DAltT USE BT 

Thi Re?. BERNARD KELLY, F.R. Hist. Soc. 


Volume V 




VIRTUE & COMPANY LIMITED 

LONDON AND DUBLIN •' 



Nihil S J!. T D. , 

ii)* s« s« 

Censor deputatus. 


I mpyimatuy\ 





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MADE AND PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN BY 
WZLUAM CXOWES AND SONS,.l.lMrrED, LONDON AND BECCIXS 



PREFACE 


The Uves of the Saints have been from time immemorial a recognized 
source of sanctity. They form, as is well known, a very considerable 
part of the Breviary Lessons which the clergy in Major Orders, and also 
Religious under solemn vows, are bound to recite daily. The study of 
hagiography, moreover, is recommended as a spiritual exercise of great 
profit in nearly all works dealing with the subject of asceticism and progress 
in holiness. History, as Napoleon used often to say, is philosophy teaching 
hj exsmphi snd sn biography, both sacred and profane, history speaks 
to us, as it were, not only through the individual, but with all the additional 
force of concrete example and personal appeal. After sacred Scripture, 
and what may be described as the normal teaching of the Church, probably 
nothing has more conduced to the promotion of sanctity throughout the 
ages than the recorded memorials of the Saints. A large treatise, indeed, 
might be written showing the far-reaching extent of this most interesting 
cause of edification and consolation. But not to multiply examples unduly, 
it may be remarked that the study of the subject in question has, under 
God, moulded to no small extent the history of the Church herself. Thus, 
the casual perusal of the Lives of the Saints directly determined the vocation 
of St Ignatius Loyola — a vocation which very largely saved Europe to the 
Faith 1 Later, the same medium was to guide in a similar direction St 
Alphonsus Liguori and St Paul of the Cross, both of whom founded Con- 
gregations that not only infused the fire of devotion into the “ dullness 
and deism ” of the eighteenth century, but which have since continued to 
foster and stimulate the piety, and, it may be added, the repentance, of 
countless millions in the Old World and the New. 

Biographies of holy persons formed a favourite branch of the spiritual 
reading of the Catholics of these realms all during the penal times, and 
when Dr Umfreville’s Lives of the Saints, in four quarto volumes, appeared 
In -1729, the work certainly marked an epoch in the literary history of the 
recusant body in Great Britain and Ireland.* Notmthstanding certain 


. * The Rev. Charles Umfreville (1687-1763) better known on the English Mission as 
" Mr Charles Fell,” was a doctor of the Sorbonne. His work on the Saints also treats of 
the Feasts and Fasts, but the absence of ranch reference to the miracnlous caused the book 
to be rather severely criticized by Dr Robert Withara, President of Doaay, and others. The 

V 



PREFACE 


t1 

inherent defects, inevitable, perhaps, owing to the circumstances of the 
times, the publication must take its place with such post-Reformation 
literary achievements as Campion’s Ten Reasons^ Dodd’s Church History^ 
Gother’s Papist Misrepresented and Represented^ Ward’s EnglaneT s Reforma- 
tion^ and the several classic treatises of Bishop Challoner — ^to.name but 
very few of the quite well-known, if older. Catholic apologies. Umfre- 
ville’s production, though superseded by Butler’s masterpiece on the same 
subject, nevertheless paved the way for the more famous work. Alban 
Butler’s Lives of the Fathers^ Martyrs^ and other principal Saints, issued 
from the press in 1 745 — the memorable year of the last Jacobite rising. 
The author, who later became President of St Omer’s, was a born biographer. 
He had deep learning, great sympathy with human endeavours, and a wide 
outlook on life. At the time of his somewhat premature death, 15th May, 
1773, he was projecting lengthy monographs on Cardinal Fisher and Sir 
Thomas More — names which, despite the defection of the nation from 
the Faith of its fathers, have always — especially More’s — been held in 
honour by Englishmen. Butler’s recognized erudition and genial dis- 
position brought him into amicable contact with such diverse characters 
as the learned Dr Robert Lx)wth, Bishop of London, and the redoubtable 
William Augustxis, Duke of Cumberland of Culloden notoriety. To 
follow ever so diffidently — and distantly — in the footsteps of so illustrious 
an authority, is in itself a most difficult, not to say, invidious undertaking! 
The writer of these Lives can only crave the kind indulgence of his readers, 
especially for the shortcomings which must make his effort the poorer by 
comparison. The accounts here set forth are of those holy persons Canonized 
or Beatified since 1773. Avery few Venerables are added — chiefly, from 
among the English Martyrs — on account of the particular interest involved, 
while, of course, many more have had to be omitted owing to want of 
room. The various biographical sketches are written mainly from the 
historical point of view, for, again, limitations of space have prevented any 
but the briefest references to the miraculous occurrences connected with 
those thus honoured in more recent times by the Church. While such 
enforced omissions are much to be regretted, it must be remembered — ■ 
and the recollection is consoling — ^that the greatest miracle of all in the 
life of any Saint, is the attainment to heroic sanctity — the supreme victory 
obtained over such manifold difficulties as the “ world,” circumstances, , 
temperament, and above all the mighty assaults of the dread, fallen Arch- 
angel 1 Though what have been termed — ^more rhetorically than correctly . 

pnblicadon ako involved the anthor in debts amounting to about but notwithstanding 

all this, the Lives reached a second, edition in 1750. The .writer was a Canon of the 
“Old Chapter,” though here again,- he was unfortunate, for his election-.was denounced as 
“irregular!” 



PREFACE 


va 

perhaps— the " Ages of Faith,” have passed away, constant instances of 
the triumphs of sanctity are gloriously apparent amidst the hectic hustle, 
the delusive glamours and assertive pretentions, that so largely go to make 
the fitful fever of modern life. At closely recurring intervals, tiie Church 
securely placed upon the Rock of Peter, solemnly announces the Canoniza- 
tion or Beatification of some elect soul — one that has not only come success- 
fully through many tribulations to the Kingdom of God, but who teaches, 
and will teach, great multitudes by the precious legacy of sacred lore, or 
animating example, the secret of that victory which alone overcomes the 
world! 

In conclusion, the writer wishes to express his great indebtedness to 
the Rev. Aston Chichester, S.J., Rector of Beaumont, for his kindness 
in permitting him free access to the valuable library of the College, and 
also to the Rev. Sister Mary St Sebastian of the Good Shepherd Convent, 
Ashford, Middlesex, for procuring many sources of information relating 
to the subject which, otherwise, would not have been easily forthcoming. 

BERNARD KELLY. 

EnGLEFIELD GfUMi 
S oMlET, 

Stftmhtr, 1928. 


FOREWORD TO THE FOURTH EDITION 

All the " Lives ” have been carefully reconsidered, and various notes 
inserted by way of further elucidation. Two additional biographical 
sketches, Aosc of St John Bosco and Blessed Euphrasia Pelletier, are 
given in the Appendix. The fact that the book has gone into four editions 
since its first publication in 1928, may perhaps be regarded as a sign that 
it has found favour with a considerable section of the reading public. 

BERNARD KELLY. 

Briitok Hiii, S.W. a. 

1936. 



VIU 


FOREWORD 


FOREWORD TO THE FIFTH EDITION 

There is, perhaps, no better proof of the permanent value of Butler’s 
classical “ Lives ” than the fact that several large reprints of the same 
have appeared in recent years. Notwithstanding the almost unparalleled 
upheavjJ caused by two world wars, the wonderful edification and 
erudition of the long famous work continue to console and instruct a 
multitude of interested and grateful readers. 

The present Edition of the Supplement to the Book contains among 
others, notices of two names closely connected with the age in which 
we live. St Gemma Galgani and St Frances Xavier Cabrini, to whom 
we refer, have illustrated by their example the dual sanctity of the 
contemplative and active life respectively, by which heroic holiness is 
attained and the Kingdom of God extended on earth. 

BERNARD KELLY. 

Brixton Hill, S.W. 2, 

1948. , 

FOREWORD TO THE SEVENTH EDITION 

In this the latest edition of Butler’s monumental work, several new bio- 
graphies have been added including that of Pope Pius X, beatified in 
1950. If History is Philosophy teaching by examples, an apophthegm of 
Dionysius of Halicarnassus often quoted by Napoleon, then Hagiography 
may be called the Science of Sanctification illustrated by the lives of those 
who practised it in so exalted a degree. 

It is from this rich and varied source that so many have derived those 
flowers of devotion which adorn, and indeed, compose the Garden of the 
Soul. All the world knows what the Lives of the Saints did in the way 
of directing the Vocation of St Ignatius Loyola, and in shaping the pas- 
toral zeal of St John Baptist Vianney, the wonderful Cur6 of Ars, some 
three centuries later — to cite but two instances of the very many that 
might be given. 

All this is apart from that instruction in Church History, Moral 
Theology and other kindred matters, which are part and parcel of this 
branch of sacred learning which abounds so much in holy wisdom, edi- 
fication and consolation — those three great milestones on the road to a 
happy eternity. 

BERNARD KELLY. 

Brixton Hill, S.W .3, 

1954. 



CONTENTS OF THIS VOLUME 


JANUARY 

DATE 

I. Bl. Joseph Maria Tomasi, Cardinal, 
Confessor . . . . . 

4. Bl. Thomas Plumtree, Martyr . , 

7. Bl. Edward Waterson, Martyr . 

7. Ven. Marie Thdrfese Haze, Virgin 
. 9. Pauline Marie Jaricot . . . 

11. Ven. William Carter. Martyr 

12. Bl. JIargaret Bourgeoya • 

12. Bl. Anthony Pucci .... 

14. Bl. William Lloyd, Martyr 
18. St Margaret of Hungary . 

21. Ven. Nicholas Woodfen, Martyr 

21. Bl. Edward Stransham, Martyr 

28. BL Sebastian Valfre, Confessor . 

29. St Francis of Sales (Illustration only) . 

30. St Hyacintha Mariscotti. Virgin 

FEBRUARY 

1. Bl. Henry Morse, S.J., Martyr . . 

3. BL John Nelson, Martyr . 

4. BL John de Britto, S.J., Martyr 

4. St Jane, Joan, or Joanna, of Valois 

(Illustration only) 

5. The Japanese Martyrs, Saints . 

5. St Philip of Jesus, O.S.F., Martyr 

6. BL James Sales and William Saulte- 

mouche, S.J., Martyrs , . 

7. BL Thomas Sherwood, Martyr . . 

10. Si Schotastica (Illustration only) 

n. Seven Founders of the Servite Order, 
Saints ..... 

11. St Bernadette Soubirous, Virgin 

12. Ven. George Haydock, Martyr . 

12. BL Thomas Hemerford, Martyr . 
12. BL James Fenn, Martyr . . . 

12. Ven. John Mundyn, Martyr 
12. BL John Nutter, Martyr . 

1 5. BL John Baptist Machado, S.J., Martyr 
18. Bl. Francis Regis Clet, Martyr . 

22. BL Didacus Cal^alho, S.J., Martyr . 

27. BL Anne Line, Martyr . . • 

MARCH 

I. Ven. Stephen Rowsham, Martyr 

4. Ven. Nicholas Horner, Martyr . 

5. St John Joseph of the Cross, Confessor 

6. St Colette, Virgin . , . ■ 

7. BL John Larke, Martyr . 

7. Bl. German Gardiner, Martyr . 

7. Bl. John Ireland, Martyr . 

15. St Clement Mary, Hofbauer, Confessor 
15. BL William Hart, Martyr . . 

15. BL 1 -ouise de Marillac, Virgin . 
r6. BL Robert Dalby and John Amias, 

. Martyrs ..... 
2r. H. Nichoiaus von der FlQe . . 

23. St Joseph Oriol, Confessor 

BL Margaret Clitherow, Martyr . 

25. BL James Bird, Martyr , . 

26. St femardine of Fossa, Confessor 
2S. BL Peter L. M. Chanel, Martyr . 


FACE 


I 

3 

5 

6 
10 
12 

491 

493 

14 

459 

17 

18 
21 

25 

25 


26 

29 

32 

32 

33 
39 


40 

44 


48 


48 

50 

55 


58 

61 

63 


66 


6 g 

69 

72 

73 


75 

78 

79 
81 

84 

85 
87 
87 

92 

96 


roi 

461 

103 

107 

108 

110 

111 


APRIL 

bate PXge 

2. BL John Payne, Martyr . . . 1x3 

4. Si Isidore (Illustration only) . , 116 

7. BL Henry Walpole, S.J., Martyr . 116 

7. BL Edward Oldcome, S.J., Martyr . no 

8. BL Julie Billiart, Virgin . . . 124 

II. BJ. George Gervaise, O.S.B., Martyr . 128 

13. BL John Locb;vood, Martyr . . 131 

16. St Benedict Joseph Labre, Confessor . 133 

17. Ven. Henry Heath, O.S.F., Martyr . 139 

iS. BL Marie de ITncamation, Virgin . 145 

19. BL James Duckett, Martyr . . 149 

20. Ven. Thomas Tichborne, Martyr . 151 

26. St Peter Canisius, S.J., Confessor and 

Doctor of the Church . . . 153 

28. St Paul of the Cross, C.P., Confessor . 158 

28. BL Louis Marie Grignion de Montfort, 

Confessor ..... 163 

30. BL Joseph Cottolengo, Confessor , 166 


MAY 

X. BL Richard Reynolds, Bridgeitine, 

Martyr 169 

4. BL John Houghton, Robert Lasvrence, 
Augustine Webster, Carthusians, 

Martyrs 172 

7. BL Rosa Venerini .... 496 
9. BL Thomas Pickering, O.S.B., Martyr 176 
IX. BL John Rochester and James Wal- 

* worth, Carthusians, Martyrs . 180 

12. BL John Stone, Martyr . . . i8r 

13. St Robert Bellarmine, Confessor and 

Doctor of the Church . . . 182 

14. BL Michael Garicolts, Confessor . i88 

14. St Gemma Galgani .... 461 

15- St John Baptist de la Salle, Confessor 191 

19. BL Peter Wright, S.J., Martyr . . 196 

20. BL Anna Maria Taigi , . , 200 

22. BL John Forrest, O.S.F., Martyr . 204 

22. St Kta, Widow .... zoS 

23. St John Baptist de Rossi, Confessor . an 

23. Bi. Andrew Bobola, Martyr . . 216 

24. St Mary Magdalen Postal, Virgin . 220 

25. St Madeleine Sophie Louise Barat, 

Virgin ..... 224 
26(?). The Blessed Martyrs of Uganda , 228 

26. St Francis Geronimo, S.J.. Confessor . 230 

28. Bl. Margaret Pole, Countess of Salis- 
bury, Martyr .... 233 

28. BL Robert Johnson, Martyr . • 239 

28. Bl. John Shert, Martyr . . • 241 

28. St Joan of France . , . • • 47 ^ 

29. BL Richard Thirkeld, Martyr . . 243 

30. EL Thomas Cottam, Martyr . . 244 

•30. St Joan of Arc, Virgin^ . . • 247 

31. St Angela Merici, Virgin • • ■ f 55 

31. St Gabriel Possenti, C.P., Confessor . a6i 



X 


CONTENTS 


SEPTEMBER 


JUNE 

DATE PAGE 

1. BL John storey. Martyr . . . 267 

2. BL Maria Anna de Paredes, Virgin . 272 

4. St Francis Caracciolo, Confessor . 275 

13. Bl. Thomas Woodhouse, Martyr . 278 

15. St Germaine Cousin, Virgin . . 281 

19. BL Humphrey Middlemore, Carthusian, 

Martyr ..... 284 

19. BL Sebastian Newdigate, Martyr . 287 

20. BL Francis Pacheco, S.J., Martyr . 288 

21. The Blessed Martyrs (S.J.) of Canada 290 

22. St John Fisher, Cardinal, Martyr . 292 

22. BL Vincent Mary Pallotti . . 478 

23. St Joseph CafasM .... 485 

26. The Blessed Sisters of Charity of Arras, 

Martyrs ..... 301 

28. BL John Southworth, Martyr . . 303 


date page 

2-6. Blessed Ma rtyrs of September (at the 

Carmes, Paris, 1792) . . . 381 

7. BL John Duckett and Ralph Corbie 

(S.J.), Martyrs .... 385 

9, St Peter Claver (S.J.), Confessor . 387 

10. BL Charles Spinola (S.J.), Martyr . 389 

12. BL Juvenal Ancina, Corifessor . . 390 

17. St Peter Arbues, Martyr . . . 394 

21. Blessed Ma rtyrs of Corea , . . 397 

24. Ven.\Vm. Spenser and Robt. Hardesty, 

Martyrs ..... 399 

25. BL Camillo Constanzo (S.J.), Martyr . 401 


OCTOBER 


JULY 

1. BL Oliver Plunkett, Archbishop of 

Armagh, Martyr 

2. St Bernardino Realino 

5. St Maria Goretti .... 

6. St Sir Thomas More, Lord Chancellor, 

Martyr ..... 
6. St Lawrence of Brindisi, Confessor 
8(?). BL Sir Adrian Fortescue, Martyr . 
9. St Veronica de Julianis, Virgin . 

17. The Blessed Cmmelite Nuns of Com- 
pifegne. Martyrs .... 
6-26. The Blessed Martyrs of Orange 
27. The Blessed Martyrs of Cuncolim 
28(?). BL Michael Abba Ghebra, Martyr . 

30. BL Thomas Abel, Edward Powell and 

Richard Fetherston, Martyrs 

31. BL Everard Hanse, Martyr 

31. BL Joan Antidea Thouret, Virgin 
31. BL Euphrasia Pelletier 

AUGUST 

1. BL Peter Julian Eymard, Confessor . 

2. St Alphonsus Liguori, C.S.S.R., Con- 

fessor and Doctor of the Church 
8. BL John Felton, Martyr . 

8. BL Thomas Felton, Martyr 

9. St John Baptist Viaimey (the Curfe 

d’Ars), Confessor 

12. BL Thomas Percy ,Earl of Northumber- 

land, Martyr .... 

13. St John Berchmans (S.J.), Confessor . 
16. St John Bosco .... 

18. St Clare of Montefalco, Virgin , 

19. St John Eudes, Confessor ... 

22. BL William Lacy, Martyr , , 

22. BL Richard Kirkinan, Martyr . 

22. BL John Kemble, Martyr . 

26. St Elizabeth Bichier des Ages . 

28. BL Edmund Arrowsmith (S.J.), Martyr 


306 

464 

488 

312 

318 

324 

326 


329 

333 

336 

337 

340 

342 

343 
456 


346 

350 

354 

354 


357 


361 

364 

453 


368 


370 

375 

377 

377 

475 

379 


3, St Teresa of Lisienx (" the Little 

Flower "), Virgin . . . 401 

II. St John Leonardi, Confessor . . 406 

16. St Gerard Majela, Confessor . . 408 

17. BL Noel Pinot, Martyr . . .411 

17 (or 25). St Margaret Mary Alacoque . 412 

17 and 23. BL Ursiiline hlartyis of Valen- 

cieimes ..... 415 

21. St Ursula (lUnstration only) . . 416 

24. St Antonio Juan Claret . . . 480 

30. St Alphonsus Rodriguez (S.J.), Con- 
fessor 417 


NOVEMBER 

2. BL Margaret of Lorraine, Duchess of 

Alenfon, Virgin .... 419 

3, St Hubert (Illustration only) . . 421 

7. BL Jean Gabriel Perbo3ne, Martyr . 421 

14. St Josaphat, Bishop arid Martyr . 424 

14. BL Hugh Faringdon (or Cook), Abbot 

of Reading, Mart^ . . . 427 

26. St Leonard of Port Slanrice, Confessor 428 
29. BL Cuthbert Mayne, Martyr . . 432 


DECEMBER 

I. BL Edmund Campion (S.J.), Martyr . 435 

9. St Peter Fourier, Confessor . . 440 

II. Ven. Arthur Francis Bell, O.S.F. . 443 

13. BL Anthony Grassi, Confessor . . 444 

22. St Frances Xavier Cabrini . . 465 

25. St Eugenia, Virgin, Martyr (Illustra- 
tion only) ..... 446 

29. BL Wm. Howard, Viscount Stafford, 

Martyr ..... 446 

31. St Catherme Labouie . . . 470 


APPENDIX 


St John Bosco 
Blessed Euphrasia Pelletier 
St Margaret of Hungary 
H. Nicholaus von der Flue 
St Gemma Galgani 
St Bernardino Realino . 

St Frances Xavier Cabrini 
St Catherine Laboure 
St Joan of France . 

St Elizabeth Bichier des Ages 




• 453 

BL Vincent Mary Pallotti 





• 456 

St Antonio Juan Claret 





• 459 

St Joseph C^asso 





. 461 

St Maria Goretti ... 





. 461 

BL hlargaret Bourgeoys . 





• 464 

BL Anthony Pucd 





• 465 

BL Rosa Venetini . ; . . . 





• 470 

BL Pius X, Pope - . . 





. 472 

• 475 

ALPHABETICAL INDEX . 




478 

480 

485 

488 
491 . 
493 
496: 
498 

503 







^IST 




Op 




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'SlEtix 






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^ojsjs 


°HH p_ 


St 7-, 






OEs 


^face 


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page 


'tece 
48 
292 

312 



THE LIVES OF THE SAINTS 

AND OF HOLY PERSONS BEATIFIED SINCE 1774, TOGETHER WITH 
BIOGRAPHICAL NOTICES OF CERTAIN OTHERS DECLARED 
VENERABLE SINCE THAT TIME 


JANUARY r 

TOMASI, THE BLESSED JOSEPH MARIA* 
(1649-1713) • 

This saintly prelate and eminent liturgical scholar was born at Licata, 
Sicily, the eldest son of the Duke of Palma. As a boy, the young 
Marquis was remarkable for two things — a great devotion to Our Blessed 
Lady, and a close application to study, especially that of the ancient and 
oriental languages. The missions which had been opened in the East 
towards the close of the previous and the beginning of the succeeding 
century had led to a great revival of interest in such matters as Arabic, 
Syriac, etc., and learned editions of works in these tongues were being 
issued with Latin translations of the ori^nals printed, as a rule, parallel 
with the text. At the age of seventeen the young Marquis, already no 
mean scholar, formally renounced his title and great inheritance, and ’ 
entered the Theatine Order at Palermo. The Clerks Regular or Theatines 
had been founded in 1524 by St Cajetan and Cardinal Caraffa to pursue 
a life of more than Franciscan poverty, “ preach the Gospel to every 
creature,” and last and not the least, to reform by word and example the 
scandals rife among the relaxed clergy and laity of the Renaissance period. 
High as the standard was, Tomasi surpassed all the novices in the observ- 
ance of the rule and every duty, and in his daily life, charity, prayer and 
mortification appeared ever to strive for the mastery. Meanwhile, he 
continued with redoubled ardour his study of languages and philology 
generally, and such a reputation for erudition in this respect did he acquire 
that his name became illustrious throughout Italy as that of a master 
of his special subjects. Among those who sought the friendship and 
instruction of the learned Theatine was the Cardinal Giovanni Francesco 
Albani, himself a Greek and Latin scholar of the first order. The futme 
Clement XI no doubt already bad in view those practical reforms which 

* Tie name is sometimes spelt Tommasi. 



2 


BLESSED JOSEPH MARIA TOMASI [Jan. i 

later, under his pontifical rule, were very largely to transform the Curia from 
a centre of aristocratic favouritism and close prelatial patronage, to a cor- 
poration of scholars and expert officials. Among those whom the Pope sum- 
moned to Rome after his election (1700) was Fr. Joseph Maria, whom he 
made one of the Consultors of the Congregation of Rites. Fr. Joseph, in 
addition to his great linguistic reputation, was now further well-known for 
three principal works, all of them abounding in that minute and extensive 
learning which the scholars of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries 
knew so well how to set forth. The first of these productions was his 
Codices Sacramentorum nonagentis Annis Vetustiores (Rome 1680), a doctrinal 
literary monument to which subsequent authorities on the subject, from Pere 
Chardon, O.S.B. (d. 1771) downward, owe deep obligation. The same can 
oe said with reference to the Institutiones Theologicce Antiquorum Patrum^ in 
three volumes (8vo, 1709-12), which in this, the period of theological decay, 
did much to confirm the orthodox in the great battle against the Jansenists 
and the (Cartesian) school of pseudo-mystics. Church music also received 
a notable and eminently useful contribution from the same active and 
able pen in the Responsalia et Antiphonaria Roman£ Ecclesi^y a quarto 
volume which appeared in 1686. 

While he was enriching the Catholic world with thes.e learned exposi- 
tions, and greatly aiding the Congregation of Rites by his practical wisdom 
and wide acquaintance with the ceremonies and ritual of the Church, Fr. 
Tomasi continued to lead the same mortified life that had been his in the 
cloister. He literally distributed all he possessed to relieve the poor, and 
very soon the portals of the official residence of the Consultor became 
more remarkable for the crowd of needy persons who thronged their 
precincts, than for the showy assemblage of glass coaches and gorgeous 
liveries of Cardinals and great prelates. It is said that in six months Fr. 
Tomasi gave away over four thousand gold scudi (ecus d’or) in charity 
alone 1 Others besides foreign visitors to Rome condemned this whole- 
sale distribution of alms, a custom which so long made the holy city 
notorious for the number of its mendicant impostors and sturdy beggars, 
buf even if the result was not always for the good, there can be no doubt 
as to the absolute single-heartedness and true charity which prompted the 
holy giver in this particular instance, and after all, it is the intention which 
matters.^ 

The great learning arid distinguished piety of the Consultor, in due 

^ Thfe kindness of the Roman prelates, nobility and gentry to the poor was really 
remarkablci During the eighteenth century and maybe later, it was the common custom 
to. have the child of high-bom parents held at the font by a beggar, who received a- 
rich reward for this sponsorship. See Rome : Us Princes, Priests and People, vol. ii.pp. iio-ii. 
By F. Maclaughlin (Elliot Stock, 1885), 



Jan. 4] BLESSED THOMAS PLUMTREE 3 

course marked him out for exalted preferment, and entirely against his 
inclination he found himself compelled to accept the honours of the 
Cardinalate. On May 12, 1712, the Red Hat was conferred upon him 
by his almost lifelong friend, Clement XI, but Cardinal Tomasi did 
not live long to enjoy his dignity, if such a term can be used where the 
distinction has been so entirely unsought. He died at his Palazzo in 
Rome, a very holy death, on Januar}' i, 1713, leaving behind him the 
reputation of having been one of the most learned scholars and dis- 
interested administrators that had ever served the Church. His venerated 
name was added to those of the Bead by Pius VII, on June 5, 1803. 
Among the many distinguished persons present at the ceremony in St 
Peter’s on this occasion was Fr. Francis Tomasi, S.J., of the noble house 
of Lampadusa, a relation of the illustrious Cardinal, now publicly honoured 
for his sanctity. Fr. Tomasi, together with the Ven. Joseph Maria Pig- 
natelli, it is interesting to recall, was later instrumental in bringing about 
the restoration of the Society of Jesus in 1814. 

[The chief authority for the life of Cardinal Tomasi is the Italian 
4to Memoir by D. Bernini (Fita del Card. Tommast), published 
at Rome 1722, and reprinted 1803. There is also a succinct 
notice of this great prelate and scholar in the Biographie 
UmversellCy Paris, 1840.] 


JANUARY 4 

PLUMTREE, BLESSED THOMAS, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(?-i 57 o) 

His Christian name is sometimes given as William. He was a priest 
of the Lincoln Diocese, and had been educated at Corpus Christ! College, 
Oxford (B.A. 1546). When Elizabeth came to the throne he was Rector 
of Stubton (Lincolnshire), but being unable to accept the new religion, 
resigned his living, and for a time taught in a school at Lincoln. Being 
compelled to quit this charge on account of the oath of Supremacy, he 
appears to have lived privately for a while, till 1569, when at the out- 
break of the “ Northern Rising ” under the Earls of Northumberland 
and Westmoreland, he joined the insurgents in the capacity of chaplain. 
It is supposed that by this time most of the south of England had, at 
least, tacitly acquiesced in the Anglican settlement as fixed by Act of 
'Parliament (iSS 9 %^ north and away from the immediate influence 

» England and ike Cctkolic Church under Queen Elizaheih. Bg Meyer. (Began Pad, 
1916.) 



4 


BLESSED THOMAS PLUMTREE 


[Jan. 4 

of the Court, and centre of government, things were very different. In 
those remote counties there were, according to Sir Ralph Sadler, “ scarcely 
ten gentlemen of note that approved of Her Majesty’s proceedings in 
matters of religion.” » The Northern Rising was chiefly stimulated by 
two things — the great increase of the penal statutes against the Catholics, 
and the chivalrous wish to liberate the Queen of Scots, the de jure heiress 
to the Crown, then in strict confinement in Tutbury Castle, Stafford- 
shire. In fact, so strong was this latter feeling that the Countess of 
Northumberland actually proposed to gain access to the captive Queen 
— now removed to Coventry — change clothes with her and so facilitate 
her escape. Meantime, the insurrection gathered force. Mr Plumtree 
is sdd to have greatly strengthened the cause by his sermons and exhorta- 
tions “ stirring both high and low ” alike. On i 6 th November the army 
of the Northern Crusade, with its banner of the Fiye Wounds, marched 
to Durham, where the Cathedral was purged of its heretical service books 
and paraphernalia, and the ancient liturgy restored. Mr Plumtree may 
have been the celebrant at the solemn Mass which was chanted for the last 
time in the Church of St Cuthbert the next day (17 th), but here the move- 
ment may be said to have ended. There does not seem to have been any 
settled plan of campaign, and in any case the Earls were but indifferent 
leaders. The Royal Forces under the Earl of Sussex and Sir George Bowes 
penetrated the disaffected districts, whereupon Northumberland and West- 
moreland and most of the leaders fled for security to the Border clans, 
leaving their unhappy followers to the number of several thousand to the 
vengeance of the Queen’s troops. * After the collapse of this extremely 
ill-managed affair, BI. Thomas Plumtree and a numerous body of fugitives 
appear to have escaped in the direction of Carlisle, but were shortly dis- 
persed, when the subject of this notice was among the prisoners taken 
by the pursuers. He and about thirty other gentlemen were conducted 
back to Durham^ and as “ some notable example,” so it was asserted, had 
to be made, notwithstanding the horrible slaughter by martial law that 
had already taken place, the Bl. Thomas Plumtree was marked down for 
execution;. It is stated that he was offered his life if he would conform, 
but replied that he “ had no desire so to continue living in the world as 
meantime to die to God.” The scene of his martyrdom is now covered 
by part of the market-place. After undergoing the usual butchery, the 
mangled remains of the “ rebells preacher, Syr Thomas Plomtrie,” were 

* Sadler’s State Papers. 

* Sir Robert Cotton, theJBibliopliile, once informed Camden, the Antiqnaiy, that he had 
come into possession of a number of State papers of Elizabeth’s Court from which it was clear 
that the Northern Rising of 1569 was the actual work of Walsingham. Whereupon Camden 
exclaimed loudly against false informers and “wished that his history had never been written ! ” 
See Gillow, Bib. Die,, Eng. C.ath., vol. i. p, 1 1 3 



Jan. 7] BLESSED EDWARD WATERSON ^ 

left hanging on the gibbet for about ten days, when they were removed 
and buried in the Church of St Nicholas, Durham. That the deceased . 
was regarded as a person of some note even by his enemies may be 
gathered both from the fact of this honourable interment, and also from 
the entry in the graveyard register concerning the burial of “ Maistre 
Plumbetre.” A picture representing the martyrdom of the Chaplain of 
die Northern Rising, who was beatified by Leo XIII, in December, 1886, 
is preserved at the English College, Rome. 

[Gillow : Bibliographical Dictionary^ Eng. Catholics. Bede Camm ; 
hives of the Eng. Martyrs, vol. ii.] 


JANUARY 7 

WATERSON, BLESSED EDWARD, MARTYR 
(?-i593).^ Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

He was born in London, and being bred to business, travelled to Turk^ 
with some merchants. While there he had the offer of marriage with a 
wealthy lady of the country on condition of renouncing Christianity, an 
offer which, needless to add, was indignantly refused. On his way home, 
Mr Waterson was received into the Church at Rome by the Rev. Richard 
Smith, who in 1625 succeeded Bishop William Bishop as Bishop of 
Chalcedon and Second Vicar-Apostolic of England. Proceeding to Rheims 
as a student, Mr Waterson won the regard of all by his great humility and 
devotion, and being raised to the priesthood on Mid-Lent Sunday, 1592, 
shortly afterwards came on the English Mission. His labours for souls, 
however, were very brief, for being arrested by the priest-hunters under 
the 27 Elizabeth, he was with another seminary priest, named Joseph 
Lampton, committed to prison. This must have occurred very soon after 
his arrival in England, for in an autograph postscript to the letter of the 
Earl of Huntingdon to Lord Burleigh, dated 31st July 1592, appears the 
following : “ Of the two Seminaries taken in Newcastle, one that is 
Lampton is executed. But Waterson is yet stayed upon his suit made 
to the Judges and me to have conference with some learned.” ' The 
result of the conference, if it ever took place, left Mr Waterson firm in 
the resolution to die for the faith, and he suffered at Newcastle the usual 
horrible penalties, 7th January 1593.* 

Owing to the confusion caused among chronologists abroad by the 
adherence of this country to the “ Old Style” or Julian Calendar, some 
1 vol. V. p. 212; . 

• The date of the Rev. E. Waterlon’s; martyrdom is given by Challoner as above, 
7th January, 1 593. The G. R. S., vol, v. p. 293 (note), puts the year at 1 594- 



6 


VENERABLE MARIE THERESE HAZE Qan. 7 

doubt existed for a time at Douay College as to the exact date or particulars 
of his martyrdom, but a priest in writing to the Seminary and describing 
the execution, declared that when the hurdle was ready to take the holy 
man to the place of execution, the horse refused to move, in spite of all the 
urging and beating of the executioners. A certain miller then lent another 
horse, which after drawing the hurdle a short way, stopped, and could not 
be got to proceed. So Mr Waterson walked to the gallows on foot, and 
thence “ his soul took its flight to heaven.” 

[Challoner ; Memoirs. Cath. Record Soc.^ vol. v.] 


JANUARY 7 

HAZE, THE VENERABLE MARIE THERESE, 
FOUNDRESS OF THE “ DAUGHTERS OF THE CROSS ” 

(1782-1876) 

Belgium — the “ Cockpit of Europe,” the land reminiscent of wars long 
before the days of Sterne’s Uncle Toby and the Army^ which swore 
so dreadfully in Flanders ! down through the Napoleonic drama of the 
Hundred Days to the titanic conflict which convulsed the world, 1914-18 — 
is no less remarkable for another kind of warfare with its attendant heroes, 
heroines and saints. In the very forefront of this great spiritual army 
must be reckoned the congregation of the Daughters of the Cross, which 
ever since 1833, has for nearly a century carried on its manifold labours 
in schools, hospitals, prisons and penitentiaries, not only in Europe, but 
in almost every part of the world where religion, instruction or charity have 
called for the exercise of its zeal. In 1 78 2 there was living in Lifege a gentle- 
man named Louis Haze, who was attached to the Court of the Prince- 
Bishop, one of those stately prelates, doubtless, of the eighteenth century 
whose ceremonious grandeur has added not a little to the showy pageantry 
of that somewhat meretricious epoch. M. Haze and his wife, Marguerite 
Tombeur, had six children, and of these Jeanne, born 27th February 
1782, is the subject of this notice. From the first, she was remarkable for 
great sweetness of disposition, but also for a certain assertiveness which 
made her the leader of her young companions in all their amusements and 
pastimes. She and her sister, Fernando, liked nothing better than to 
dress up as nuns, taking, no doubt, as their models the sisters of a Bene- 
dictine Convent in the neighbourhood which they visited occasionally with 
their mother. The Abbess of the Convent, a woman of remarkable shrewd- 
n^s — as, indeed, most Reverend Motiiers appear to be 1 — said to Madame 
Haze on one occasion, with reference to little Jeanne : “Believe me, that 



7 


Jan. 7] VENERABLE MARIE TUERESE HAZE 

child will one day be an Abbess 1” That “day,” however, was long in 
coming, and many were the momentous happenings that were destined to 
precede it.. In 1792 the French Revolutionary Armies invaded Belgium, 
then part of the Austrian dominions, and began those impieties and 
devastations everywhere associated with the enforced propaganda of the 
“ Rights of Man.” In an incredibly short time the most peaceful people 
in Europe were in a state of violent commotion. Many of the better 
classes took to flight with whatever they could carry with them, while 
in the south the hardy rustic population was facing the godless soldiers 
of Valmy and Jemappes with fowling-pieces and pitchforks in a La 
Vendde kind of struggle which has been so vividly described by Hendrik 
Conscience in Veva^ or The War of the Peasants. M. Haze, as one of the 
prescribed “ aristocrats,” after very nearly falling a victim to la lanterne J 
had to abandon his home with his wife and children, and so sudden was 
the flight, that in the confusion of the general exodus, the various members 
of the household became separated, and for some years they suffered the 
additional hardships of a divided exile. M. Haze, in fact, never saw his 
beloved ones again, dying in Germany before the happy reunion could be 
effected. Jeanne and her sister, Fernande, though separated from their 
parents, fell into the hands of some good people, and were well cared for, 
but it was not till after the lapse of several years that they could rejoin 
their mother and return to Lihge. The hard experiences caused by the 
revolutionary invasion were no doubt an excellent preparation for the future 
foundress of the ” Daughters of the Cross.” One of the great needs of 
Belgium, like France, at that time of reconstruction after the social deluge, 
was Christian education. The Catholic orders and their schools having 
been swept away and no new religious cotumunities having taken their 
place, the nation was confronted with the disjual prospect of state secularism 
in the training of the young with all its baleful results. Thoroughly 
believing in the practical proverb that an ounce of help is worth a ton of 
pity 1 Jeanne and her sister, now both young women, resolved to do what 
they could in their own immediate circle. They opened a school for 
children of the middle class in Liege, where sound religious instruction 
was imparted together with the usual subjects of a superior education. 
So successful was the venture that they wer^ soon asked by the authorities 
to take over the management of the parish school of St Barthelmy. Sacri- 
ficing their own feelings and interests, the sisters consented, and before long 
their efforts in this new sphere of labour had resulted in a social better- 
ment that was manifest all over the city. But excellent as may be 
the effects of well-directed individual labour, these must ^ of nece^ity 
perish with those who inaugurate the work, and hence the wis om 
lying the foundation of the religious ordefs in which practica goo 



8 


VENERABLE MARIE THERESE HAZE [Jan. 7 

not only achieved but perpetuated from age to age. The great object of 
Mile Haze and her sister was to found an institute of religious women 
which should devote itself to education and works of charity, but for many 
years the idea had to remain nothing more than a beautiful dream. Not 
till after the Belgian Revolution of 1830 could the project be carried out, 
for under the rule of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which Belgium 
formed part in accordance with the unhappy and enforced “ settlement ” 
by the Allied Powers in 1815, no monasteries or convents could be estab- 
lished, owing to the then strong Protestant opposition of the predominant 
partner, Holland. But with the independence that came of the few weeks’ 
strife — inspired largely by the July Revolution in France — all obstacles 
were removed. Meanwhile, the sisters had prayed much, and they were 
confident that God had not only heard their petitions, but that He had 
given evident indications of His will with regard to the longed-for 
foundation. They laid the matter before their Confessor, Canon Habets, 
who seems to have been not only unimpressed, but who actually treated 
the whole affair with a certain amount of derision 1 For contrary to the 
common belief, especially in non-Catholic countries, priests are the very 
opposite of credulous where spiritual manifestations are alleged — following 
for the most part the wise attitude of the Church which lets time and 
trial test all things before cleaving to that which is good. Like the woman 
in the gospel, however. Mile Haze persevered, and among the first con- 
verts won by her holy persistence was the hostile Confessor himself ! 
With the approval of the Bishop of Lifege, arrangements were ere long 
made for the inauguration of the new work, and on 8 th September, the 
feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, 1833, Jeanne and Fernande Haze 
and five postulants were clothed by the Bishop of the diocese with the 
habit of the “ Daughters of the Cross.” In view of the long years of 
waiting, and the many trials through which they had passed, the two 
sisters were allowed to make the perpetual vows at once, the rest taking 
the temporary ones only. In spite of her great reluctance. Mile Jeanne, 
now Mfere Marie Thdrfese, was elected first Mother-General of the new 
sisterhood, and this office was perpetuated to her by repeated re-election 
till her death. The congregation was formally approved by Gregory XVI 
in 1845. Though at first instituted for education only, the Daughters of 
the Cross soon undertook other and very varied good works. Thus 
within a few years of 1833, were attending to the female inmates 
in many hospitals, prisons and penitentiaries. Soon branches of the con- 
gregation were opened in France and Germany. The first house in 
England was started at Cheltenham in 1863, and the next at Chelsea 
(August, 1869). The head Convent now in this country is at Carshalton, 
an imposing group of buildings that has grown up around the central 



Jan. 7] VENERABLE MARIE THERESE HAZE 9 

edifice, a fine old Caroline mansion, once the country residence of the 
famous Dr Radcliffe, founder of the Library at Oxford. When eighty 
years of age (1862), M^re Marie Th^rese had the joy of seeing a 
band of her sisters making a foundation at Karachi, which thus became 
the first of many flourishing houses of the Daughters of the Cross 
in India. 

As the conscious life of the holy foundress had begun almost amidst 
the upheaval and wars of the Great Revolution, so was it destined to close 
beneath the clouds of persecution and dispersion. The Kultur-Kampf 
Campaign of Prince Bismarck against the Church in Germany, which 
reached its culminating point 1875-77, caused many poignant scenes, 
and not the least of these was witnessed in the latter year, when thousands 
of nuns and religious were exiled from the Fatherland — going forth many 
of them bearing on their habits the crosses and medals conferred by the 
Government for heroic acts and self-sacrificing labours in field and 
hospital, during the bloody renaissance of the German Empire, 1870-71. 
Mother Mfere Th^rfese was happily spared this last sorrow, tliough it 
can well be imagined that so spiritual a soul and so courageous a character, 
would have accepted the catastrophe with the same quiet and holy con- 
fidence that had carried her successfully through the crises and difiiculties 
of nearly a century. She passed to her reward 7th January, 1876, leaving 
behind her, as all such personages do, an inspiring legacy of deep trust in 
God, indomitable patience and a constant charity for the needs and 
afilictions of others. Indeed, the record of her life is so entirely merged 
in that of her foundation that there is comparatively little to detail of her- 
self. Prayer and patience were the great weapons she relied upon to achieve 
good, and to a wonderful understanding of, and sympathy for, the com- 
plexities and waywardness of human nature, was joined a tenderness for 
the sorrows of the afilicted whatever might be the origin of the trouble in 
question. The cause of her Beatification was introduced at Rome in 1912, 
when the title of Venerable was conferred on this veritable Mulier Jonh, 
who will, it is hoped, be raised one day to the altars of the Church as another 
great example and heartening patroness of the cause of active charity on 
earth. 

[An excellent Memoir of the Ven. Ther^se Haze is published 
by the Catholic Truth Society of London.] 



10 


PAULINE MARIE JARICOT 


(Jan. 9 


JANUARY 9 

PAULINE MARIE JARICOT, FOUNDRESS OF THE 
" ASSOCIATION OF THE PROPAGATION OF THE FAITH 

(1799-1862) 

On this day 1862, died Pauline Marie Jaricot, Foundress of the “ Associa- 
tion of the Propagation of the Faith,” whose cause has been sent to Rome 
for the process of Beatification and Canonization. Born at Lyons 22nd 
July, 1799, the daughter of a rich merchant of that city, Pauline Marie 
was in her childhood described as “ very self-willed and vain ” I but also 
as ” particularly lovable.” She left school and ” came out ” at the ex- 
tremely early age of fourteen, but notwithstanding the gaieties of a brilliant 
society — ^which resolved to enjoy itself despite the downfall of the Empire 
and the invasion of the Allies — she never lost her love of prayer, and 
especially her devotion to the Blessed Sacrament. A severe accident 
followed by a nervous illness prevented her from carrying out the wishes 
of her parents, and marrying a youthful suitor, who is somewhat quaintly 
described as “ fulfilling all the requirements of an idealistic maiden.” 
Charles Surface or Miss Austen could scarcely have summed up the quali- 
fications of the gentleman in a more detached manner 1 "When con- 
valescent, Pauline Marie made a pilgrimage of thanksgiving to Fouviferes, 
the hill of the martyrs, near Lyons, where after holy Mass in the Church 
she consecrated herself to Our Lady. A sermon that she chanced to hear 
in the Church of St Nixier, Lyons, not long after her recovery, gave her 
still further to think. It was a discourse on “ Vanity ” from P^re Wurtz, 
S.J., and it certainly made one convert. When such a change is brought 
about a sort of illumination enters the soul showing, as it were, in con- 
trast what is the true and abiding good, compared with what is, at best, 
merely passing and unsatisfying. From henceforth Pauline Marie’s ruling 
idea was the conversion of souls at home and abroad, by means of prayer, 
self-sacrifice and labour. She had always exercised a great influence over 
her brother, Phileas, and now she had the great happiness of seeing him 
ally himself with her ideal. This young man renounced a career in the 
world, and entered the College of Foreign Missions in Paris, where he was 
subsequently ordained priest. 

One of the first labours of this remarkable woman was the institution 
of a sort of union of pious girls of the poorer class, known as “ Les Repara- 
trices du Sacre Cceur de Jesus.” The Voltairian spirit of the Revolution, 
silenced for the most part by the roar of battle and the acclamations of 
conquest which for ten years accompanied the blood-stained glories of 
the Empire, broke out afresh after the second restoration of the Bourbons, 



Jan. 9 ] PAULINE MARIE JARICOT i, 

and the Catholic revival which accompanied that event was confronted by 
a great deal of opposition of the most irreligious and aggressive kind. 
The humble members of the “Union” pledged themselves to prayer 
for France, and to make reparation by their piety for the daily countless 
insults offered to the majesty and goodness of our holy Redeemer. Soon, 
and at the suggestion -it seems of the zealous Foundress herself, sums of 
money began to be collected weekly for the missions of the East, mainly 
those of China, which after years of comparative neglect, owing of course 
to the upheaval of Europe which followed the events of 1789, were now 
coming into favour again with the faithful in several countries. The 
raising of these contributions, which soon amounted to a very considerable 
sum, was really the first commencement of the “ Association of the Pro- 
pagation of the Faith,” but so careful was Pauline Marie to conceal her 
initiative in the matter, that when the Association was formally established 
in Paris on 3rd May iSzz, her name did not even appear on the list of 
members, and she was never recognized as Foundress during her lifetime. 
Another association, that of the “ Living Rosary,” was commenced 
about this time by the self-effacing subject of this notice, the object of 
course being prayer for the success of the Apostolate of conversion among 
the heathens at home and abroad. Pauline Marie must be regarded as one of 
the chief modern pioneers of women’s work in the social services connected 
with the Church. To ensure properly qualified helpers in this important 
branch, she purchased in 1834 a fine house and property at Fouviferes, 
which, under the name of “ Loretto,” became the centre for training 
young women to render constant and effective aid in all works of piety, 
charity and general utility, where female assistance is most required. One 
of the first and greatest of the afflictions which were reserved for the latter 
days of Pauline Marie, was in connection with this foundation. When the 
Socialist rebellion convulsed Lyons (1834), not long after the opening of 
the place, “ Loretto ” was occupied by a Communist mob, and much 
damage done before the invaders were driven out by the military. During 
this fearfully trying time, the members of the community had to conceal 
themselves in the cellars of the building in which were also placed the 
Blessed Sacrament and some of the chief ornaments of the Chapel, under 
the personal care of Pauline Marie herself. By the death of her father, the 
Foundress succeeded to a very large inheritance, but even this apparent 
stroke of good fortune was, in the design of God, to serve as the indirect 
cause of yet another and almost overwhelming trial for this elect soul. 
Ever full of generous impulses and schemes for good, Pauline Marie 
now formed the idea of home colonies where working men and women 
might be instructed in the true principles of Christian civilization and 
progress. Unfortunately, she not only; took into her confidence, but a so 



12 


VENERABLE WILLIAM CARTER 


[Jan. II 

imprudently confided the bulk of her property to a plausible adventurer, 
and before long nearly the whole amount was lost ! Large numbers of poor 
persons were also involved in the disaster, and till her death, the Foundress 
had to bear the hard cross of unmerited censure often of the bitterest kind I 
Her actions were even suspected at Rome, but a visit to the Vatican ex- 
plained matters, and Pauline Marie could return to France at least con- 
soled by the publicly expressed approval of her conduct which came from 
the paternal lips of Pius IX. The calamities and sorrows of her last 
years were further supplemented by acute physical sufferings, but like 
the holy Founder of the “ Clerks Regular of Somascha,” under very 
similar circumstances, she, who had really called into being the Association 
of the Propagation of the Faith, could truly exclaim : “I have done all 
for the glory of God 1 ” She strictly charged those about her during her 
mortal illness to refrain from all that might offend even the parties who 
had been the most hostile to her, and the last words she uttered at her 
holy death on 9th July 1862, were : “ Mary, my Mother, I am entirely 
yours 1 ” 

She was interred beside her parents in the Cemetery of Lyons, but 
in 1889, her venerated remains were placed in the Chapel of St Francis 
Xavier in the Church of St Polycarp — a resting-place in every way appro- 
priate, in view of the unwearied missionary zeal of the Apostle of the 
Indies, and of her who might well be called his spiritual daughter. The 
cause of Pauline Marie Jaricot, as above stated, has been sent to Rome, 
and no doubt the day will come when this strenuous worker in the harvest 
field of the Lord and great model of patience under affliction, will be 
numbered among the Saints. 

[See Notice by Le Roy in Annals of the Propagation of the 
Faith, Ixx. Feb. 1907.] 


JANUARY IT 

WILLIAM CARTER, THE VENERABLE, MARTYR 

(P-1584) 

Among the many brave laymen and laywomen who professed the Faith 
even to the shedding of blood during the tragic epoch of Elizabeth, the 
name of Willisim Carter stands forth very prominent. He was by trade 
a printer, having been apprenticed by his father, John Carter, in 1563 to 
John Cawood, who although a Catholic, held the important position of 
printer to the Queen 1 Carter appears to have learned his business very 
thoroughly, and he later used his sldll to forward the Cafholic cause by 



Jan. ii] VENERABLE WILLIAM CARTER 13 

the power of the press. For some years he was employed as secretary by 
Dr Nicholas Harpsfield, who, after holding the dignified position of Dean 
of Canterbury under Queen Mary, was now (1570-75) a prisoner in the 
Fleet.^ Harpsfield was a strong controversial writer. His Dialogi Sex 
against Foxe, the Martyrologist and the Magdeburg Centuriators, had 
made its mark, and it was no doubt his intercourse with this learned, if 
not very discreet, divine, and the proof of what could be done by means 
of polemical writings to answer the almost innumerable slanders against, 
and misrepresentations of, the Catholic religion, that led Carter to set up 
a secret press in London for the dissemination of such books and pamphlets. 
A secret press existed at Henley-on-Thames for a while during this period, 
and there was another at East Ham, Essex, directed by Fr. Robert Parsons. 
The last product of the East Ham Press was Campion’s famous Decern 
Rationes, numerous copies of which were boldly scattered about the 
benches of St Mary’s Church, Oxford, in June 1581. What Carter did 
in the way of literary propaganda does not appear, but he was detected in 
September 1578, and spent a month in the Poultry Counter. In December 
1 579 Aylmer, Bishop of London, wrote to Lord Burghley ; “ I have 
found out a presse of pryntynge with one Carter, a very lewed fellowe, 
who has been dyvers tymes before in prison for printinge of lewde pam- 
phelets.” Among the other “ naughtye papystycall books ” found in Carter’s 
“ Howse,” was a work entitled the Imocency of the Scotyshe Queue, a trans- 
lation of a French Apology for the imprisoned Mary of Scots, written by 
Francois de Belleforest. In 1581, Carter was allowed out on bail for 
100 marks (about £ 66 ), part of the conditions of his enlargement being 
that he was not to go beyond three miles from his house in Hart Street, 
St Olave’s, and that he was to hold no intercourse with any “ Jesuite 
Seminarie or Massing Prieste.” But although apparently free again, 
he was in reality a marked man. Next year, his house was searched by 
the ferocious Topcliffe and his myrmidons, Payne and Morris, and among 
the incriminating articles found were chalices, vestments and a copy of 
Campion’s Disputation in the Tower. This last was the report of the Con- 
ference in the Tower arranged by the Government between the illustrious 
Jesuit and a number of eminent Protestant divines, including Nowel, 
Dean of St Paul’s. Campion, notwithstanding his several fearful rackings, 
replied so readily to the subtleties of his adversaries, that “ even the heretics 
admired him exceedingly.” Carter was lodged in the Tower, and while 
there was racked to make him divulge the names of the patrons who 
supported his press, and give information concerning other matters which 
the Government much wanted to know. But the brave printer answered 

* Cali. Record Society, vol. i. p. 53. He had been there since 1559- “And his cause 
Is for that he would have fled the reaume.” 


BLESSED WILLIAM LLOYD 




[Jan. 14 


never a word, save a few ejaculatory prayers, and so it was resolved to 
bring him to trial. This took place, loth July 1584, before the Lord Chief 
Justice of the Common Pleas, Sir Edmund Anderson, and several other 
judges. The prosecution was conducted by Thomas Norton, a barrister of 
strong Puritan tenets, who stressed the point that among the “ lewed ” and 
" seditious ” books found on Carter’s premises, was Treatise of Schism 
— a polemic which has been attributed both to Gregory Martin and Father 
Parsons. The work warned the laxer section of English Catholics of the 
unlawfulness of attending the “ hereticall conventicles,” while a passage 
about the slaying of Holofernes by Judith was twisted into an incentive 
to the Court ladies to assassinate Queen Elizabeth 1 Carter made a very 
good defence, and he had no difficulty in exposing the utter absurdity of 
the last charge about killing the Queen, but a trial for “ treason ” under the 
Tudors was but a mummery veiling a murder, and the jury, as directed, 
returned a verdict of guilty on this occasion after but a quarter of an hour’s 
deliberation. The next morning, nth January, at Tyburn, William Carter 
added his name to that glorious band, the English Martyrs, who died in 
witness of the ancient faith which St Augustine brought from Rome, and 
which was the nation’s spiritual heritage for nigh a thousand years. 

[Burton and Pollen : English Martyrs^ vol. i.] 


JANUARY 14 

LLOYD, THE BLESSED WILLIAM, PRIEST CONFESSOR 
(1614—1679).^ Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

The subject of this notice was born in Carmarthenshire, 1614, and was the 
son of William Floyd, Esq. The name “ Lloyd ” was probably adopted 
afterwards as an alias, such practice being very common among 
priests during the penal times. Mr Lloyd or Floyd, who appears to have 
been a convert, was admitted as a student at the English College, Lisbon, 
1st October 1635, College Oath 29th June 1636, and in spite of 

sets-back to study owing to ill-health, was ordained priest 26th April 1639. 
He appears to have remained on at the college — probably teaching — when 
he left for Paris 21st June 1642. Mr Lloyd served for many years on 
the Welsh Mission, till 1678, when he was arrested in consequence of the 
“ No Popery "furore caused by the Oates Plot, and incarcerated in Brecon 
Jail. He was convicted at the Welsh Winter Assizes at Brecknock of 
high treason for having taken orders in the Church of Rome, and for 
remaining in this country contrary to the Statute i^th Elizahetk. Some 
witnesses at the trial deposed to having seen the accused administer the 

^ The chnstian name is sometimes given as John, and the surname as Flojd. Canon Croft 
in his account of the English College, Lisbon, describes it as " William Flojd, or Llo7d.** 



Jan. 14] BLESSED WILLIAM LLOYD 

Sacraments “ according to the order and manner of the Catholic Church ” 
(Challoner). Being sentenced to death, he was left for execution, but 
died in prison r4th January 1679, six days before the date fixed for the 
execution. The deceased left behind him in writing the following declara- 
tion, which he had intended to read to the people at the place of 
martyrdom : — 

“ In the name of the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, Amen. 

“ Dearly beloved Countrymen, — It is even by God’s holy providence 
that now I am come to the last hour of my mortal life in this miserable 
world, and, therefore, am desirous to give an account to all the world in 
what faith and religion I lived while I was in this world, and in which I 
am resolved to depart out of this world, which is the only holy Catholic 
and apostolical faith and religion (that is) the very same in all points as 
the apostles themselves lived and died in after they received the Holy 
Ghost, which our Saviour promised to send them to guide them into all 
truth, and to remain with his Church for ever, and I do renounce all errors 
and mistakes contrary to the same faith and religion, holding all the holy 
word of God, written or unwritten, to be true and revealed to the patri- 
archs and prophets in the time of the Old Testament, and also revealed 
by Our Saviour Jesus Christ to his apostles and disciples in the New 
Testament, and by their successors declared to the rest of the world in the 
same right sense, as the Holy Ghost, according to Our Saviour’s promise, 
directed them to teach all truth which is the only faith in which a man 
can be saved and no other ; for it is said in the holy scripture that there 
is but one faith, one God and one baptism, and St Paul in another place 
expressly saith that without faith it is impossible to please God ; and 
every man by natural reason may easily know that without pleasing God 
no man can be saved ; for no man can possibly be saved in spite of God 
Almighty (that is) whether he will or no. Therefore, seeing none can be 
saved without pleasing God, and that none can please God without faith ; 
and seeing there is no faith but one, and that one is that which our 
Saviour Christ taught to his apostles, it behoveth every man to find it out, 
and live and die in it, although they lose all that they have in the world, 
and their lives to boot seeing that it is of no small importance to be saved 
or damned for ever. And to find out that apostolic faith without which 
no man can please God, nor consequently be saved, we must find out the 
eldest faith among Christians which was planted by our Saviour himself 
amongst his apostles which doth still last and and will last for ever ; for our 
Saviour promised to be with his Church to the world’s end, and the gates 
of hell shall not prevail against it. And this is the reason why I made 
choice to embrace i^ and all others ought to make choice of and embrace 



i6 


BLESSED WILLIAM LLOYD 


[Jan. 14 

the same to live and die in, to the intent we may be saved souls for ever ; 
detesting (as I said before) all mistakes'and errors contrary to the said one 
Holy Catholic Apostolic Christian Faith and Roman religion. Nothing 
can be held to be a true article of faith, but what is firmly grounded upon 
the holy word of God, taken in the right sense by the guidance of the 
Holy Ghost ; the rest of controversies may be disputed, but not believed 
by divine faith. 

“ Now, I do further declare that I being of this holy faith and religion, 
living peaceably in the commonwealth all the days of my life, have been 
taken suspected to be a popish priest, and have been committed to prison 
and have been sentenced to die on that account for serving God and 
administering the holy sacraments according to the rites and ceremonies 
of the Roman Church, and for nothing else proved against me ; and 
submitting myself to God’s holy will and all the penalties of the present 
laws of the kingdom relating thereto, I am heartily willing by God’s holy 
grace to suffer death upon that account, hoping to be a saved soul by the 
goodness and mercy of God, and the merits and passion of our Saviour 
Jesus Christ. And to the intent that I may depart out of this world in 
love and charity, I do heartily forgive all that have in any wise offended 
me and beg pardon and forgiveness of all those that I have any wise 
offended ; and especially I beg pardon of God Almighty for all my 
heinous offences committed against his divine majesty in thought, word 
and deed, for which I am heartily sorry, and with the help of his grace, 
if they were yet undone, I would do ray best never to do them ; and this 
not only for fear of being punished for my sins, but out of the hearty 
love I bear to my dear God, who hath created me, and redeemed me with 
his most bitter passion in the person of our Saviour, true God and man 
(and had sanctified me with the grace of the Holy Ghost in soul and body). 
As for the subversion of government or conspiring against his majesty’s 
life, I do sincerely protest in the presence of Almighty God, as I hope 
to be a saved soul, that I had not the least knowledge of it till it was noised 
abroad among the common people, nor did I at any time after know any- 
thing of it, otherwise than by common report after discovery, but was duly 
wont to pray for his majesty and his royal consort ; and so (God willing) 
intend to continue as long as I have breath begging of God Almighty to 
send his majesty a prosperous reign whilst he lives in this world, and after 
this miserable life to grant them both eternal crowns in everlasting bliss ; 
and the same everlasting happiness I wish to my own soul, I wish also to 
my enemies, to all that are here present, and the rest of the world. Amen,” 

[Canon Wm. Croft : Historical Account of Lisbon College^ p. 198. 

Challoner : Memoirs^ 



Jan. 21] VENERABLE NICHOLAS WOODFEN 


*7 


JANUARY 21 

WOODFEN, THE VENERABLE NICHOLAS, PRIEST 

AND MARTYR 

(?- i 586) 

Owing to the dangers of the time, this priest adopted the aliases of Wood* 
fen and Devereux, but his real name appears to have been Wheeler. He 
was born at Leominster, in Herefordshire, and at the Grammar School of 
the town was regarded as one of the “ best scholars.” Whether he was an 
** old Catholic,” or a convert, there is nothing to show, but later, he went 
to Rheims and was there ordained priest, 25th March, 1581. The time 
of his coming to London was one of great excitement, owing to the success 
of the first Jesuit missioners — “ a new race of persons far worse than the 
papists 1 ” — as the Knoxites had declared in Scotland a year or two before. 
The Government, in consequence, exercised great vigilance, prosecutions 
for recusancy were many, and later, Mr Recorder Fleetwood in his letter 
to Lord Burleigh reported that “ we have been every day occupied with 
Seminarie Priests, Massemongers, libellers and such like.” For some time 
after his arrival in town, Mr Woodfen was in great poverty, until befriended 
by an old school-fellow and brother priest, named Davis. This latter was 
chaplain to Lady Tresham, who lived in Tuttle Street, Westminster. 
Her husband, Sir Thomas Tresham (1543-1605), famous for his building 
activities at Rothwell, Rushton, and Lyveden, and for being the father 
of Francis Tresham, the Gunpowder Plot conspirator — was then in the 
Fleet Prison, for harbouring priests and for being “ a stubborn recusant.” 
At this time, Mr Woodfen was in such straits that, as he declared : *' he 
had neither money to buy him any meat nor scarce any clothes upon his 
back 1 ” The good chaplain of the Treshams interested the Hon. Francis 
Browne, brother of Lord Montague of Cowdray, in his friend’s case, and 
shortly afterwards Mr Woodfen was found lodgings with one Barton, 
a haberdasher in Fleet Street. Now, at this period, the Bar had not been 
closed against Catholics by statute, and there were many gentlemen of 
the. Inns of Court who professed the ancient faith and followed the law, 
in spite of the Orders of the Privy Council of 20th May, 1569, to the 
Benchers “ to expel all Papists out of Commons.” ’ 

To facilitate his ministrations among his co-religionists in the Temple 
and the other legal Societies, Mr Woodfen assumed the student s gown, 
and so “ did much good among the gentlemen of the Inns of Coiut. 

* 4th April 1582. . 

’ See Author’s Short History of the English Bar, p. 42. (Swan, Sonnenschein & Co, 
1908.) 



i8 


BLESSED EDWARD STRANSHAM 


QaN. 2J 

It was not likely, however, that he could escape very long unobserved, 
and coming under the notice of Norris, the pursuivant, he. detective, 
had to leave London for Hoxton (Hogsden), where there seems to have 
been some Catholics in residence. Mr Woodfen hid for a while in a secret 
hiding-place of Sir Thomas Tresham’s country-house in the then suburban 
village, but being taken not long afterwards was, on the 19th January, 
1585 (O.S.), “at Justice hall in the Olde Bailly, condempned for 
treason in being made a Seminarie priest at Reymes in ffrance by authoritie 
of the B. of Rome since the feast of St John Baptist in anno primo of her 
Ma^ reigne, and in remayninge hereafter the tearme of xl^y days after 
the Session of last parliament.” 1 Two days later this zealous priest suffered 
with great constancy at Tyburn. He was a man of fine appearance and 
great courtesy, qualities which in the natural order had been of no small 
assistance to him in his spiritual endeavours to save the flotsam and jetsam 
of the ancient religion of this country during the stress and storm of the 
Elizabethan wreckage. 

[Burton and Pollen ; Ef!g. Martyrs^ C.R,S. vols., especially 5. 

Challoner : Memoirs.l 


JANUARY 21 

STRANSHAM, THE BLESSED EDWARD, 

PRIEST, MARTYR 
(1557-1586). Beatified Dec. 15, 192,9. 

Though described in the written report of his examination before the 
Privy Council, 17th July, 1585, as oriundus in Civitate Oxon^ the patronymic 
of the martyr certainly suggests some possible remote connection with 
the village of Strensham in Worcestershire, The name is also spelt 
Strancham and Transom. The subject of this notice matriculated at 
St John’s College, Oxford, at the age of eighteen, and in February, 
I 575 "^> ^3,s determined for the B.A. degree (Oxford Register). In April, 
1577, he went to Douay College, together with Nicholas and Richard 
Nayler. He mi^ated with the rest of the professors and students to 
Rheims in April, 1577, but owing to a continuous and troublesome 
flux, came to England for his health in October of the same year. On 
his return to Rheims, he brought back with him four students for the 
priesthood, and in due course was ordained at Soissons in December, 
1580. He said his first Mass on St John’s day (27th December), at which 
the Rector, Dr Allen, preached a very unpressive sermon. After remaining 

^ C.R.S,, voi. V. p. 129. 



Jan. 2i] blessed EDWARD STRANSHAM ' 19 

in France till the July of the next year, Mr Stransham set out for England 
via Rouen and Dieppe, landing at Newhaven, and then proceeding, it 
seems, to London, under the name of “ Mr Barber.” His arrival coincided 
with that exciting time in the history of the English Catholics, when the 
" Spanish Policy ” of armed intervention for the restoration of the Ancient 
Faith and the liberation of the imprisoned Queen of Scots was undoubtedly 
in favoxir with many of the recusants. Most of these latter were all for 
Spanish interference just as the Huguenots of France at that time were 
all for English and even German interference! or as the Jacobites of a 
later date were for any kind of foreign intervention that would secure the 
“ Happy Restoration.” > The head-centre of this queer “ Squire Western ” 
kind of international conspiracy in 1581 was apparently Sir Francis 
Throckmorton, who later fell into the hands of the Government, and who 
after being several times racked in the Tower, made a confession that 
involved Mendoza, the Spanish Ambassador, and many English Catholics. 
He was executed at Tyburn. Among those who were suspected by Govern- 
ment of complicity in this daring scheme was our missionary, who was, 
indeed, specially mentioned in an unsigned paper sent by the English 
Ambassador in Paris, Sir Edward Stafford (ist-iith June I5'84), in con* 
nection apparently with the Throckmorton affair. It runs : “ Edward 
Transom, prest, called by the name of ffraunces Willec, ys habred by 
Mathew Wallen, gent and student in lyons inn : which Transom goeth 
in a sheep’s cohered goune and every nighte lieth in the chamber of the 
said Mathew Wallen within the inn.” So far from “ Edward Transom ” 
being in London at this time, he was actually in Paris, almost dead with 
consumption and “ only kept alive by asses milk 1 ” In fact, the only 
matter of consequence in which our missioner was concerned during his 
first stay in this country was with reference to the burning question of 
the hour, whether the English Catholics — to save themselves from the 
ruinous fines of ^20 a month — ^were justified in attending, as a mere 
matter of form, the parish churches on Sundays, as ordered by statute. 
Mr Stransham brought with him to England the written opinion of Father, 
afterwards Cardinal Toledo, that such attendance, even in view of the 
persecution raging in this country, was not lawful. 

When Mr Stransham returned to France in July, 1583, he was accom- 
panied by ten students intended for the Rheims College. He had always 
by all accounts, a great influence with young men, and not the least part 
of his vocation seems to have been the discerning and guiding of those 
who believed themselves to be called by God to the service of the altar. 

^ Even the Hanoverians called in foreign troops during the 1745 ^sing, and the 
Government of Geo. III. used Hessians against the revolted American colonists. 

* Equal to at least ,^250 in present currency! 



20 


BLESSED EDWARD STRANSHAM 


[Jan. 21 

What he did in France during the two years of his sojourn is not clear. 
That much of the time was spent in illness we have already seen, but there 
can be little doubt that he was also much in the company of Thomas 
Throckmorton, brother of the conspirator already referred to, and one of 
the agents of the Queen of Scots in Paris. That ever-shifting plotter, 
Charles Paget, who spent half his life abroad scheming for one side or 
the other, must have often met Mr Stransham, and the reader may well 
conjecture whether the subsequent arrest of the priest in London was not 
in part due to information supplied by this very sinister and dangerous 
person.! In July, 1585, Mr Stransham crossed over to England. He 
walked through Sussex to London, resting at Copping’s Court and Far- 
borrow on the way. When in town, he lived for a few days with a Mr and 
Mrs Ferres (Ferrers?) at their house in*Bishopsgate, where he said Mass. 
It was here that he was arrested, being probably betrayed by one Roger, 
alias Berden, a spy of Walsingham’s, who had been with him in Paris. 
The pursuivants also seized a chalice, paten, super-altar and some vest- 
ments, and as Mr Stransham was “ saying his service,” when the law 
officers broke in, it seems certain that the arrest was made while he was 
actually saying Mass. The juridical examination of the accused as before 
mentioned, took place 17th July, but the trial was postponed it seems 
till the close of the year, when Mr Stransham was condemned to death 
for being made a Seminary priest at Rheims and exercising his ecclesiastical 
functions in this country. He suffered the barbarous penalties attached 
to treason at Tyburn on 21st January, 1586, together with another priest, 
Mr Nicholas Woodfen (y.'u.). Dr Bridgewater, in bis Concertatio Ecclesia 
Catholica^ thus writes of these two martyrs : " Mr Edward Transham 
and Mr Woodfen, Catholic priests, after they had given many and various 
arguments of their piety, charity and Christian fortitude in gathering 
together the scattered sheep of Great Britain, the time being now come, 
in which they were both to glorify God by an illustrious profession of their 
faith, and confirm their brethren by the voluntary shedding of their blood, 
being approved by the testimony of faith, they offered their souls and 
bodies a living and holy sacrifice to God, their creator and redeemer.” 
Among those present at this last glorious but awful scene, was Mr William 
Freeman of Magdalen College, Oxford, who though a Protestant, was 
so impressed by the constancy of the sufferers, that he shortly afterwards 
embraced the Catholic faith, and going to Rheims, was there subsequently 
ordained. 

[Challoner : Memoirs. Bvuton and Pollen ; Eng. Martyrs.'] 

! THs Paget was the fourth son of the first Baron Paget. He ultimately made his peace 
with the Government, and was pensioned by James I. He died February, 1612. 



Qan. 28 


BLESSED SEBASTIAN VALFRE 


21 


JANUARY 28 

VALFRE, THE BLESSED SEBASTIAN, CONFESSOR 

(1629-1710) 

When the plague was raging at Verduno (Piedmont), in the early spring of 
1629, a necessitous peasant family of the place was forced to flee to the 
country, and for some months to make its abode in a roughly constructed 
hut. The poor refugees were the parents, and some of the brothers and 
sisters of the future “ Apostle of Turin,” who was born on March the 9th 
of the above-named year. Trained, thus, from the first in the school of 
hardship and adversity, Sebastian Valfrfe grew up with a great sympathy 
for suffering and poverty, and like the St Cur6 d’Ars when a child, he was, 
even as a boy, never so happy as when relieving, as far as the slender means 
of his own circumstances would permit, the wants of the outcast and the 
destitute. After the family had returned home, and little Sebastian had 
reached his twelfth year, he was sent first to the Franciscan School at Alba, 
and then to another at Bra. At both places he was noted for a “ rigid 
regard ” for truth, and for a kindness which won the hearts of all. Hence 
the great scholastic success which his high intelligence and habits of close 
study achieved, aroused no feelings of envy among his fellow-students, 
and having decided upon an ecclesiastical career, he received at the age of 
seventeen (1646) the first two minor orders. He then proceeded to Turin 
to pursue his theological studies under the Jesuits, and after a brilliant and 
edifying course in philosophy and the preliminaries of divinity, was ordained 
Subdeacon on 17th December, 1650, by Monsignore Bergera, Archbishop 
of the Province. Next year lie proceeded Deacon, and experiencing a 
vocation to the Oratorian Fathers, was accepted as a novice on the Feast 
of St Philip, 1651, by Father Ciambini, Superior of the House in Turin. 
He was ordained priest at Alba, 23rd February, 1652, and to the great joy 
of his family and friends, said his first Mass at Verduno. As a Deacon 
Dom Sebastian had already begun to preach publicly at Turin, where his 
sermons on Sundays and Feasts from the first attracted large numbers of 
hearers. These discourses were not only most carefully prepared, 
but they were sanctified by great bodily mortification. Even as a child, 
Dom Sebastian had practised fasting on bread and water during Lent, and 
while at school at Bra had not only submitted cheerfully to the domination 
of a severe and exacting pedagogue, but had been quite content, even 
-during the severe Turin winters, to sleep nightly on some straw in a barn, 
with no covering but that of a blanket supplemented by his own day 
clothes! OTsuch stuff are the Saints madel The year following his 
ordination, Dom Sebastian was named Prefect of the Little Oratory at 



22 


BLESSED SEBASTIAN VALFRE [Jan. 28 

Turin (i 6 53). The “ Little Oratory,” which is attached to every house of 
the Oratorians, is a sodality or assemblage of laymen banded together for 
personal sanctification and works of piety and charity. The idea in 
practice was the great apostolate of St Philip in Rome, and there can be no 
Oratory without the little one. Under Dorn Sebastian’s care, the member- 
ship of the Turin branch soon reached three hundred, and the labours 
of the “ Brothers ” extended to the hospitals and prisons of the city and 
district. In addition to his ministrations in the Church of the parish, 
Dom Sebastian, in the spirit of the apostolic age and these later times, 
preached frequently in the open places in Turin, especially in the Piazza 
Carlina, to the many who could not or would not come to church regularly. 
He visited the chapels of the local schools, orphanages, penitentiaries and 
prisons for the same holy purpose, and in 1671, after becoming Superior, 
always delivered discourses on Christian doctrine at the conclusion of 
Vespers on the Sunday evenings. This incessant and solid instruction 
gave a lead in the matter to the rest of the clergy, and to its influence must 
be ascribed the comparative freedom of Turin and the immediate neigh- 
bourhood from the deadening heresy of Jansenism, then spreading from 
France to some of the adjacent countries.^ Like the St Cur6 d’Ars in his 
zeal and mortification, Dom Sebastian also resembled that wonderful 
model of pastoral holiness in his gift of discerning souls. This remark- 
able trait was strikingly manifested ‘on several occasions, notably in the case 
of two priests of the Oratory who were contemplating abandoning their 
vocation. They chanced to enter, one day, the church where Dom 
Sebastian was preaching, when the holy man, suddenly breaking off in the 
middle of his discourse, exclaimed: “ Remain in the vocation in which 
you are called,” a reference to E-ph. iv. i. The troubled priests took these 
words as a warning from God, and acting on the advice, found peace of 
soul. The great secret, of course, of Fr. Sebastian’s success in the pulpit 
and elsewhere, as before observed, lay in his spirit of prayer and constant 
interior mortification. He meditated for an hom: every morning, and 
commenced each action with prayer. He recited the divine office at the 
appointed times on his knees, and before leaving home to go on his rounds 
of duty or charity, always visited the Blessed Sacrament and invoked the 
aid of Our Lady. Though more than once pressed by Prince Victor 
Amadeus of Savoy to accept the Archbishopric of Turin, he always refused 
the proffered dignity. In fact, he endeavoured on all occasions to “ seek 

Not only was Jansenism a determined attempt to graft a kind of Calvinism on to the 
teaching of the Catholic Church, but to its severe rigidity must be attributed much of that gloom 
which is so often seen in the characters of persons of no religious belief, especially in France- 
Indeed, it is to the spiritual cancer of Jansenism that our neighbours largely owe the notorious 
infidelity of so many of their countrymen before and since the Revolution. 



BLESSED SEBASTIAN VALFRE 


Jan. 28] 


23 


the lowest place ” in the estimation of men, concealing his great learning 
under a show of ignorance, expatiating on his peasant origin, and affecting 
a neat, -but somewhat shabby, dress when in public. He seldom or never 
wore his doctor’s gown of purple edged with ermine, conferred upon him 
in 1656, and like the Curd d’Ars had such an aversion to sitting for his 
portrait that his likeness had to be painted by stealth. Like the illustrious 
Saint of the French Church of the nineteenth century also, he was never 
tired of reminding others that “ The ills of this world are mere trifles, and 
that sin is the only evil worth troubling about.” He showed great emotion 
on reading the Passion, and when asked by a priest for advice on the subject 
of personal holiness, remarked that the very bought of having to say Mass 
daily ought to be enough to ensure a high standard of sanctity. Though 
he never purposely sought the society of the great, he was for many years 
the sage counsellor of the Prince of Savoy, Victor Amadeus, and the 
instructor of that ruler’s two daughters, the Princesses Maria Adelaide 
and Maria Louisa. The former, who was afterwards the Duchess of 
Burgundy, died in giving birth to the future Louis XV of France. Almost 
his last words to Prince Victor were: “ Be ever dutiful to the Holy See ” — 
a piece of good counsel mainly, it seems, in view of the Church and State 
difficulties which subsequently resulted in the See of Turin being vacant 
for some fourteen years (1713-27). The humble submission of the 
illustrious Fdnelon to the decision of Rome in the matter of the condemned 
propositions on ” The Maxims of the Saints,” filled Dom Sebastian with 
holy joy, and he gave thanks for that crowning glory of the Archbishop of 
Cambrai in a short but fervent exclamation before the Fathers of the Turin 
' Oratory. When the Government of Savoy was forced by fear of its power- 
ful neighbour, Louis XIV, to proceed against the Waldensian Protestants 
in the valleys of the Northern Alps (1685-6), none apparently disapproved 
of the violent method of conversion more than Fr. Sebastian, and when 
crowds of the unhappy sectaries were subsequently incarcerated in the 
Citadel of Turin, he hastened to alleviate their sufferings by large gifts of 
money, clothes, medicines and other necessaries. He mingled with the 
prisoners and, when occasion presented itself, took the opportunity of 
affording the poor people a true account of the teaching of the Catholic 
Church. These instructions, so different from the traditional perversions 
and travesties of Catholicism current among the Vaudois, led to a number 
of conversions, and even those who refused to be convinced were won by 
the all-pervading kindness of this remarkable man. 

The charity shown by the Blessed Sebastian to the Vaudois (1685-6) 
was repeated on a greater scale during the protracted siege of Turin by 
the armies of Louis XIV in i yoG. Unable to endure any longer the 
domineering interference of the mighty monarch of France, Prince Victor 



2^ BLESSED SEBASTIAN VALFRE [Jan. 28 

Amadeus had espoused the cause of the Allies in the War of the Spanish 
Succession, and from May to September his capital endured the ever- 
increasing severities of a rigorous investment. All during this time 
Fr. Sebastian was unwearied in his efforts to sustain the spirits and deter- 
mination of his fellow-citizens, no less than in his ministrations to the 
sick and wounded. On the 7th September, he knew, it is supposed 
by inspiration, that relief was at hand, for he ordered a Te Deum to be 
sung, and shortly afterwards the allied armies under Prince Eugene burst 
through the French lines and raised the siege. 

In addition to the sufferings which he inflicted on himself, Fr. Sebastian 
had much to endure from others. His students were frequendy listless 
and inattentive, his lectures to them, as Master of Novices, seemed very 
often to bear no fruit, despite the prayer and care he bestowed on these 
periodic instructions. He was never tired of exhorting these young 
aspirants “ to give yourselves to prayer, and try by it to procure first, the 
amendment of your farJts, then the practice of Christian virtues, and 
finally a great love of God ” (Advice to Novices), It is further related that 
once, after Fr. Sebastian had resigned the Prefectship of the House, he 
was rebuked by the new, and apparently singularly unobservant, Superior 
before a stranger “ for a love of dissipation I ” which unmerited reprimand 
he bore with his habitual self-effacing submission. 

In December, 1 709 he seems to have had a presentiment of his approach- 
ing death, for he remarked to a friend on parting: “ Till we meet again in 
Paradise,” On 24th January, 1710, the Blessed Sebastian preached for 
the last time, and also consoled a criminal under sentence of death. Next 
morning after Mass he was taken ill, and had to keep his bed. After 
lingering for several days in great agony but also constant prayer, the 
“ Apostle of Turin ” calmly expired on 30th January, having received the 
last rites of the Church and begged pardon of the community for any 
faults he might have committed. When asked whether he regretted dying, 
Fr. Sebastian replied: “ As I have no iittachment to anything in this 
world, why should I regret leaving it I ” Father Sebastian Valfr^ was 
declared Venerable by Pius VIII (1829-30) and beatified by Gregory XVI, 
20th May, 1831. 

[Life by Lady Amabel Kerr.] 



Jan. 30] 


ST HYACINTHA MARISCOTTE 


25 


JANUARY 29 

ST FRANCIS OF SALES, BISHOP AND CONFESSOR 

(1566-1622) 

[For Life of this S^int see Butler s Lives oj the Fathers^ Martyrs^ 
and other Saints, vol. i.] 

JANUARY 30 

ST HYACINTHA MARISCOTTI 
(1585-1640) 

1 'he life of this great servant of God illustrates yet again the triumph of 
grace over Nature. She was born at Vignanello, near Viterbo, her parents 
being Mark Anthony Mariscotti and Ottavia Orsini, both of the noble 
rank which ever since the days of the Optimates of ancient Rome, has had 
such a social value in Italy. Very devout as a child, Hyacintha acquired 
as she grew older, habits of worldliness which, though they happily never 
developed into anything worse, prevented for many years the attainment 
of that high sanctity which ultimately added her name to the Saints of the 
Church. Disappointment at not being able to marry the object of her 
affection, the Marquis Cassizuechi, is said to have directed her thoughts 
to the cloister, and about the age of twenty she entered the Convent of 
St Bernardine of Sienna at Viterbo, where as a child she had been educated. 
As chagrin and not piety was the motive of her choice, she availed herself 
to the utmost of the privileges then apparently allowed by the somewhat 
elastic rule of the house. Her cell was furnished with considerable 
sumptuousness, she paid and received visits of ceremony, and had her own 
kitchen and attendants. Her habit, too, was made of finer rhaterials than 
that of the other nuns, who seem to have followed in their mode of life the 
easy-going medley of piety and social amenities which marked so many 
of the communities of Canonesses at that time, and indeed for long after. 
After ten years of thus trying to make the best of both worlds. Sister 
Hyacintha came to recognize that her mode of life ought to be in keeping 
with her religious profession. She in consequence cast away her fine 
apparel, put on a mean habit, and discarded the costly furniture of her cell. 
She publicly begged pardon of the community for the disedification she 
might have caused, and henceforth consistently practised a variety of severe 
bodily austerities. When the plague visited Viterbo, she not only devoted^^^ 
herself day and night to the care of the sick, but was instrumental in ; 
establishing two Confraternities, called the Oblates of Mary {Sacconf) ^ ^ 



26 


BLESSED HENRY MORSE 


[Feb. 1 

the relief of the poor, and infirm, and of prisoners. Even in the heyday 
of her worldliness, the holy Foundress had cultivated a tender devotion to 
Our Lady, and after what may be called her “ conversion,” this saving 
sentiment of piety became of course intensified. It is said that her new 
and most sanctified mode of life was honoured by many spiritual graces 
and favours, such as visions and ecstasies, while her unstinted charities 
and constant solicitude for the welfare of the unfortunate generally, en- 
deared her to all classes of the citizens. Her holy death at Viterbo on 
30th January, 1640, was the signal for great demonstrations of sorrow and 
appreciation, crowds taking part in the obsequies and already referring to 
the deceased as la Santa! Sister Hyacintha was beatified by Benedict XIII 
in 1726, and canonized by Pius VII 14th May, 1807. 

N.B . — ^The “ Oblates of Mary,” established by St Hyacintha Maris- 
cotti, must not be confused with the “ Oblates of Mary Immaculate,” a 
Society of Priests first formed at Marseilles by the Rev. Charles de Mazenod, 
1815-16. He afterwards became Bishop of the diocese. This foundation 
is now widely spread over the Catholic world, the Fathers being engaged 
in parochial and missionary work. The Rules and Constitution of the 
Congregation were approved by Pope Leo XII in 1826.^ 

[Leon de Clary: Lives oj the Saints and Blessed of the Three Orders 
of Saint Francis. Taunton, 1885.] 


FEBRUARY i 

MORSE, S.J., THE BLESSED HENRY, MARTYR 
(1595-1645). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

He was a native of Norfolk, and was born 1595. Both his parents were 
Protestants, and it being decided after he had finished his classical studies 
that he should qualify for the Bar, he came to London to keep his terms at 
one of the Inns of Court. By a sort of irony of destiny, these hostels of 
the law were, even in the worst of the penal times, the favourite resorf of 
Catholics, though the Bar had been closed to the professors of the ancient 
faith after the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. The statute (3 James i. c. 5), how- 
ever, was constantly evaded down to the Revolution of 1688, and it is 
possible that Mr Morse may have become acquainted with Catholics while 
a student, but be this as it may, he soon began to entertain serious doubts 
as to the claims of the Protestant Established Church, and in 1618 left 
England for Douay College. He had by this time “ Considered all the 
arguments with sincerity in the light of truth, and with respect to his 
^ The Religious Houses of the United Kingdom. (London : Bums, Oates and Washboume.) 



F£b. i] blessed henry morse 27 

soul’s salvation alone ” (Fr. Corby, SJ.)- He pursued his philosophy and 
theology course at the English College, Rome, where he was noted for 
“ piety towards God, obedience to his superiors, and charity towards his 
companions.” 

After being ordained priest in 1624, he almost immediately came on 
the English mission, only to be seized shortly after landing and thrust into 
a dungeon at York Castle, where for three years he endured all the miseries 
of want, filth and cold. His sufferings, however, were somewhat alleviated 
by the companionship of a fellow-prisoner, Fr. John Robinson, of the 
Society of Jesus. He also laboured for the spiritual betterment of some of 
the felons, and two of these latter, a man and a woman, repented of their 
crimes and went to the scaffold professing themselves Catholics. Even 
the judges who came to hold the Assizes were impressed by the complete 
change for the better that had been effected in these notorious criminals, 
and owned that Mr Morse had succeeded in making them amend their 
lives. It was probably the good impression thus afforded that caused the 
subject of these remarks to be reprieved and banished, which he was in 
1627, when he at once made his way to the Jesuit College of Watten in 
Belgium, He had before coming to England declared his intention of 
joining the Society of Jesus, and the. hard “noviciate” in York Castle 
seems to have confirmed him in that resolution. At Watten his usual 
exemplary piety greatly edified all beholders, while his unflagging zeal 
found abundant scope in ministering to the many Catholic soldiers then in 
Flanders, as part of the national contingent sent to aid the Protestant allies 
in their struggle with the Imperialists during this stage of the Thirty Years’ 
War. But by 1636 Fr. Morse was back in London, then in the grip of 
one of the oft-recurring plagues of the period. He was unwearied in his 
spiritual labours among the sick of all denominations, and in a comparatively 
few weeks is said to have visited over four hundred families. It was, 
however, this heroic and self-sacrificing devotion to one of the most trying 
of duties that indirectly brought about the second arrest of the zealous 
missioner. He was indicted before the Lord Chief Justice (Sir John 
Bramston) for having heard the confession of a nobleman, and having 
(presumably) administered the extreme unction to a dying woman. His 
Lordship, “ a very patient hearer of cases,” was, on the whole, favourable 
to the accused, and the jury found him " guilty of being a priest,” but 
“ not guilty on the charge of seducing His Majesty’s subjects.” Much 
sympathy seems to have been aroused for one who had shown himself so 
courageous and untiring during the late pestilence, and the King, Charles I, 
who was indignant at the prosecution of so worthy a man, shortly after- 
wards commuted the sentence of death to one of banishment. More 
the King, of course, dared not do, in view of the fierce Puritan opposition 



28 


BLESSED HENRY MORSE 


[Feb. 1 

in Parliament, which was continually calling out for severe measures against 
the “ Sons of Belial,” as the Catholics were generally termed by these 
gloomy fanatics. After returning to Flanders, Fr. Morse resumed his 
duties as military chaplain, this time attending chiefly to the English 
regiment commanded by Sir Henry Gage. Sir Henry was a member of 
the ancient Catholic family, the Gages of Firle (Sussex), and later achieved 
a noted place in history as Governor of Oxford for Charles I dmring the 
Civil War. He died fighting gallantly for the royal cause, 1 1 th January, 
1 644, and was buried in the chapel of Christ Church, Oxford. 

The year that his Cavalier patron was slain, Fr. Morse returned to the 
English mission, the scene of his labours being on this occasion the 
north of England. He was seized fay the priest-hunters at a cottage on 
the borders of Cumberland, where he had gone to attend a dying person, 
and after escaping from custody, was again recognized, arrested, and 
lodged in Durham Jail. Having been previously convicted in London, he 
was sent to the capital by ship, his Puritan captors no doubt fearing that a 
journey by road would be too risky in view of the large bodies of Cavaliers 
about, who would certainly have delivered the reverend captive by force. 
While on shipboard Fr. Morse had much to suffer from the brutality of 
the crew, the seafaring element being at that period for the most part 
violently anti-Papal and anti-Royalist. The vessel touched at Yarmouth 
on the way, where Mr Morse, the Protestant brother of the captive priest, 
was in practice as a well-to-do attorney. The lawyer did his best to relieve 
the immediate wants of his near relative, and later when sentence of death 
had been passed upon him in pursuance of his previous conviction, came 
up to London and used every possible influence to get the capital penalty 
again remitted. But the Parliament was then in power, and the sentence 
was ordered to be carried out. While in prison (Newgate?), Fr. .Morse 
was visited by crowds of persons of the first quality, all anxious to get some 
words of advice or consolation from so holy and famous a man. Among 
the many callers was the French Ambassador, the Marquis de Sabran, who 
came to ask a blessing for the young King of France (Louis XIV), the 
Queen-Mother, and the rest of the royal family. On the morning of the 
execution, or martyrdom rather (ist February, 1645), Fr. Morse, by the 
connivance of the jailer, said Holy Mass with great devotion in his cell, and 
then took a cheerful leave of all the prisoners. The Sheriff showed him 
much courtesy, causing straw to be placed in the hurdle, and addressing 
him with all politeness. At the latter end of the Oxford Road the French 
Ambassador and suite in carriages and on horseback joined the procession, 
and accompanied it to Tyburn. Being arrived at the place of his martyr- 
dom Fr. Morse turned to the vast crowds and delivered the following 
address: 



Feb. 3] BLESSED JOHN NELSON 29 

“ I am come hither to die for my religion, for that religion which is 
professed by the Catholic Roman Church, founded by Christ, established 
b)^ the Apostles, propagated through all ages by a hierarchy always visible 
to this day, grounded on the testimonies of Holy Scriptures, upheld by the 
authority of Fathers and Councils, out of which in fine, there can be no hope 
of salvation. Time was when I was a Protestant, being then a student 
of the law in the Inns of Court in town, till being suspicious of the truth of 
my religion, I went abroad into Flanders, and upon full conviction re- 
nounced my former errors, and was reconciled to the Church of Rome, the 
mistress of all Churches. ... I pray that my death may atone for the 
sins of this nation, for which end and as testimony of the one true Catholic 
faith, confirmed by miracles now as ever, I willingly die,” 

It was declared by the prosecution at his trial that Fr. Morse had “ per- 
verted to the Church of Rome ” more than jfio persons in London alonel 

[Foley: Records^ S.J, Challoner: Memoirs^ 


FEBRUARY 3 

JOHN NELSON, THE BLESSED, MARTYR 
(1534-1578) 

The Rev. John Nelson, son of Sir William Nelson of Skelton, " within 
two miles of York,” was born 1534, the ver}' year that saw the first sever- 
ance of this country from the Apostolic See and the Universal Church. 
John Nelson was, in every sense of the word, a pillar of orthodoxy, having 
“ great faith and a loving zeal for God’s cause.” Even before the pro- 
hibition came from Rome against Catholics attending the parish churches 
after the accession of Elizabeth, the future martyr saw the peril of this 
outward conformity, mere subterfuge though it was to escape the enormous 
monthly fines for staying away from the heretical worship by law established, 
and he was able to persuade many to suffer the loss of their worldly goods 
rather than run the risk of perversion. On the other hand, nothing must 
have more brought home to the people the change in religion than the state of 
the parish churches within a few years of Queen Mary’s death. Rood-screens, 
crucifixes and holy images had been hewn down, altars replaced by wooden 
tables — profanely styled “ oyster boards ” — mural paintings, whitewashed, 
and the very altar-stones upon which had rested the most Sacred Body and 
Blood of Christ, defaced and “ put to common use ” — ^which "use ” generally 
meant a position on the threshold of the church, so that they might be 
trodden under the feet of men! Then the new clergy, who in so many 
parishes had replaced the dispossessed priests — ^what a contrast! Utterly 
ignorant men were these, very often mere low traders and broken adventurers 



30 


BLESSED JOHN NELSON [Feb. 3 

who could just read the “ new-fangled service ” — “ ministers of Satan ” — 
who made coarse abuse of the Pope and blasphemies against the Mass, the 
Holy Mother of God, and the Saints, do duty for the Catholic discourses of 
former times. ^ What a martyrdom for the old and sincere faithful to 
have had to associate, even through dire necessity, with such profaners of 
the nation’s age-long beliefs! John Nelson was not only never tired of 
denouncing the evil of conformity, but he used to say that England would 
never be restored to the Church until martyrs had shed their blood for the 
Faith. With prophetic voice he often added that he believed that he 
himself would one day die in that blessed cause! In 1573, when forty 
years of age, he crossed over to Douay, and within two years had the 
happiness of seeing two of his four brothers, Martin and Thomas, follow 
his example. 

The course of theological study followed at Douay and later on at 
Rheims, at that time, appears to have been an intensive one, judging by 
the comparative rapidity with which the aspirants to the priesthood were 
ordained. The great schism from Rome and the train of heresies which 
had followed in its wake, had called forth a vast library of controversial 
literature, chiefly written by the Jesuits, in which the whole cycle of doctrine 
impugned by the innovators, was admirably stated and defended. Never 
in the history of the Church had there been such a theological output as 
during the whole of this period. The rich and varied expositions which 
had their common centre around the Catechism of the Council of Trent, • 
embraced the learned productions of the Thomastic-Scotist Jesuit theo- 
logians, Gregory of Valentier, Francis Suarez, Gabriel Vacquez and 
Didacus Ruiz. In Germany, the cradle of the Reformation, St Peter 
Canisius, S.J. — ^recently declared a Doctor of the Church (1925) — ^was 
writing whole bookshelves of divinity against his Lutheran antagonists, while 
in Italy Robert Bellarmine, not yet a Cardinal, was projecting wKat was to 
be the mighty Corpus Controversarium. With such a profusion of erudite 
material at their command, the future missioners of England only wanted 
ordinary intelligence and studious application to make their relatively 
brief training both solid and portentous of fruitful result. During his stay 
at Douay, Mr Nelson was remarkable for his extraordinary devotion and 
his obedience to every superior. He was raised to the priesthood on 
iith June, 1576, by Monseigneur Bynche, Archbishop of Cambrai — 
F^nelon’s See — and started for England on 7th November following. 

^ Heylin {History of the Reformation) remarks that the new clergy “ was made up of 
cobblers, weavers, tinkers, tanners, card-makers, fiddlers, tailors, bagpipers, etc.” In 1563 
the Speaker of the House of Commons drew public attention to the fact that many of the great 
market-towns were without either school or preacher, i^., minister. 

For the condidon of tiungs ecdesiasdcal in England at this time, see The Church under Queen 
Elisoabeth, by the late Rev. Fredk. Geo. Lee, sometime Vicar of All Saints, Lambeth. 



Feb. 3] BLESSED JOHN NELSON 


The short missionary life of this zealous and holy priest lasted only one 
year, but it was marked by two very curious incidents, — the conversion of a 
Protestant anchoress, and the expulsion of an evil spirit 1 The day of the 
anchorite and the “ ankerhold ” is generally supposed to have ended with 
the Wars of the Roses, though solitaries for religion’s sake are not con- 
fined to any particular period. It is certainly startling to find a specimen 
of the asceticism of the Middle Ages leading this strange life in the London 
of Elizabeth, when everything that savoured of “Popery "and “super- 
stition ” was believed to be non-existent outside the chapels of the foreign 
ambassadors. Yet such was the case. The anchoress in question lay 
a-dying, and though the sick recluse was surrounded by a great number of 
neighbours, the Rev. John Nelson managed to get access to her, and having 
cleared the apartment of the curious, reconciled the poor woman to the 
Church, and administered the last Sacraments to her. In the other matter 
he was called in to exorcise an evil spirit that “ had entered into a man.” 
The demon yielded to the prayers and ceremonies of Holy Church, but in 
departing, threatened to “ have the priest taken up within a week ! ” This 
actually came to pass, for on Sunday, ist December, as Mr Nelson was saying 
his Matins, the officers of the law entered, and a little later our missioner 
found himself in Newgate. In the subsequent examination before the 
Queen’s High Commissioners, the accused boldly told the occupants of 
the Bench what they must, indeed, have believed already, that he “ had not 
heard or read that any lay prince ” could be the head or supreme governor 
of the Church! It was the phrase, almost word for word, of the Blessed 


Thomas More more than forty years before. Pressed to say whether the 
Queen was a schismatic and a heretic, the prisoner again replied with 
perfect respect and after careful consideration, that if the Queen be “ the 
setter forth and defender of this religion now practised in England, she is 
a schismatic and a heretic.’’ This avowal was enough for a full committal, 


and on Saturday, ist February, 1 578, Mr Nelson was tried for “ denying the 
Queen’s supremacy and such other traitorous words against her Majesty.” 
He was of course condemned, and during the few days that remained to 
him of earthly life, spent the time in prayer, holy recollection, and even 
abstinence. His brother Thomas, also a priest, who visited him on the 
morning of his martyrdom, found him absorbed in devotion, “ his hands 
joined and lifted up.” At Tyburn he asked all Catholics present to say 
with him the Tater, Ave and Credo, and to these prayers he added the 
Conjiteor, Miserere and De Profundis. Some of the general crowd showed 
considerable hostility, and when he said: I beg you to bear me witness 
that I die in the unity of the Catholic Church, and for that unity do now 
most willingly suffer my blood to be shed, and other ike sentimen 
cries were mised of “Away with thee and thy Catholic Romish faithl ,, 



32 JOHN DE BRITTO [Feb. 4 

When cut down from the gallows for the rest of the butchery, he was 
heard to pray like another St Stephen for Saul: “ I forgive the Queen and 
all the authors of my death.” As in the case of several of the other secular 
missioners, the Blessed John Nelson was admitted a member of the Society 
of Jesus before his death, and he therefore figures in their Calendar as a 
martyr of the Order. 

[Challoner; Memoirs. R. B. Camm: Lives oj the Eng. Martyrs, vol. ii.] 


FEBRUARY 4 

ST JANE, JOAN, OR JOANNA, OF VALOIS, 

QUEEN OF FRANCE 
(1464-1505) 

[For Life of this Saint see Butler’s Lives oj the Fathers, Martyrs, 
and other Saints, Original Edition, 1756-1759.] 


FEBRUARY 4 

JOHN DE BRITTO, S.J., THE BLESSED, MARTYR IN INDIA 

(1647-1693) 

This worthy successor of St Francis Xavier in the missionary field of India, 
was born at Lisbon, ist March, 1647, and resigned brilliant prospects at 
the Court of John IV, King of Portugal, to become a novice in the Society 
of Jesus, 1662. After pursuing the usual lengthy course of training of 
the Society, and being ordained priest, he left in 1673 for India. Upon 
arriving at Goa, but before commencing the laborious work of conversion, 
he made a thirty-days’ retreat at Ambalacate, not far from Cranganore, 
the meditations being based on the whole of the Spiritual Exercises of 
St Ignatius, To gain the natives, this zealous missioner put on a dress 
of yellow cotton, adopted a vegetarian diet, abstained from wine, and was 
enrolled in the noble caste of the Kshatreyas, or ruling military order. 
By the following year (1674) Fr. de Britto was sufficiently acquainted with 
the Hindu tongue to give instructions to and also converse with, the 
people, and during the next ten years he traversed a vast area, including 
Madras, Vellore, Tanjore, Madura and Marava. In 1684 he was im- 
prisoned by one of the local rajahs, but was shortly afterwards released on 
condition of leaving the country. Fotu* years later he returned to Portugal 
on business of the Society, and though efforts were made to induce him to 
accept the Archbishopric of Cranganore, he insisted upon going back to 



Feb. 5] THE JAPANESE MARTYRS 33 

India as a simple priest. After his arrival he won over to the faith a certain 
pagan priest of Marava, and it was the complaint of a niece of a former 
wife of this individual, that led to a violent persecution being stirred up 
against the Christians. Father de Britto was arrested, and after being con- 
ducted from place to place, was, at the instance of the Brahmins, taken to 
Oreiour and there beheaded, i ith February, 1653* Before his martyrdom, 
he addressed letters of farewell and edification to Fr. Francis Laynez, 
Superior of the Mission of Madura, and to several other Fathers of the 
Society in various places. Many miracles are said to have been wrought 
at the intercession of this saintly son of St Francis Xavier, who was beatified 
by Pius IX, 2 1st August, 1853. 

[See Lives: {a) One published at Coimbra, 1722 ; {b) Histoire 
- 5 - J- de Britto^ by Pere J. Prot, S.J., Paris, 8vo, 1853.J 


FEBRUARY 5 

THE JAPANESE MARTYRS 
(1597-1647) 

Bossuet, in a passage of almost unsurpassed pulpit eloquence, has de- 
scribed the Mission of St Augustine to England as one of the sublimest 
episodes in history 1 The spectacle, too, of St Francis Xavier going 
forth to win the “ Mysterious Empire” of Japan to the faith of Christ, 
is no less exalted, and in the short space of two years a band of some 
three thousand native converts already attested the marvellous 
missionary zeal of this St Paul of the Far East. The ancient Japanese 
feudal system, with its overlords and vassals, like the clanship 
organization of Scotland down to 1745-46, no doubt at the outset, greatly 
favoured the advance of Catholicism, for when a local magnate was 
converted, at least a portion of his people followed his example. 
Father Torres and the other Fathers of the Society of Jesus who came 
to continue the work of St Francis, preached and ministered with such 
effect that by 1582 the number of Japanese Catholics had risen to 200,000, 
and by 1592 to 300,000 ! The Princes of Bungo, Arima and Omura 
were not only gained over to the Faith, but they sent ambassadors to 
Portugal, and these same envoys were, it seems, presented to Gregoiy 
XIII, and a little later took part in the coronation ceremonies of his 
successor, Sixtus V (1585), one of whose first acts was to create these 
interesting strangers knights. A leading factor of the wonderful success 
of the Society of Jesus in the mission-field of Japan, and elsewhere, was 
the extreme tact of the Fathers in all their dealings with the various pagan 



34 


THE JAPANESE MARTYRS 


[Feb. 5 

populations and their rulers. On the other hand, it was the no doubt 
half-jocular but none the less stupid, remark of the captain of a Spanish 
trading-vessel, the San Felipe^ to the effect that the missionaries were 
but the advanced guard of an army of invasion, that first aroused among 
the ruling powers in Japan those suspicions and feelings of resentment 
which ere long kindled into a raging fire of persecution. Already in 
1587, the Emperor Hideoshi, more commonly known to Europeans as 
Taico Sama, who had at first been friendly to the Christians, began 
hostilities against them. This attitude is asserted to have arisen from 
the advice given by the Bonzes or Buddhist priests, and especially the 
chief Bonze, Jacquin, rather than from any original hatred of the re- 
ligion recently introduced. What was an ominous menace in ifSy, 
became ten years later an open and violent persecution. During that 
year (1597) twenty-six martyrs, i.e. three Jesuits and twenty-three 
Franciscans suffered death. In addition to these, a number of native 
Christians also gave their lives for the faith. Among these last were 
Paul Miki (born 1564), Jean de Gotto (born 1578), and Jacques Kissai 
(born 1533). The condemned suffered at Nagasaki, on ^th February, 
each victim being tied to a cross and then transfixed with spears. It is 
said that as the martyrs proceeded to the place of death they chanted 
the “ Laudate Pueri,” as in a joyous procession. Paul Miki appears to 
have been an especial object of hatred to the pagans, from the fact that 
ever since his conversion, he had been untiring in his efforts to lead his 
countrymen from the old superstition of the Gentiles to the light of Gospel 
truth. Some idea of the highly flourishing state of Christianity in Japan 
at this period may be gathered from the fact that Fr. Valignano, before 
his death in 1606, had by his own individual efforts caused the erection 
of three hundred churches and colleges in various parts of the country! 
Taico Sama died in 1598, and for fifteen years there was a cessation of 
persecution. Another embassy, that of the Prince of Sendai, was sent 
to Pope Paul V (1613), and was honourably deceived by the Pontiff. Next 
year, however, the war against the Church in Japan began again. The 
decree of persecution of the Emperor Jeyasu was renewed by his successor, 
Hedilada, in 1616, and the oppression of the native Church soon recalled 
that of Nero and Diocletian in the first centuries of Christianity. On 
2nd September, 162a, twenty-seven Christians were publicly beheaded 
and twenty-five burned alive at Nagasaki. Great numbers of the faithful 
also were burnt or buried alive in different parts of the Empire, and in 
1631, four thousand Christians were drowned at sea — a wholesale method 
of destruction afterwards adopted by the fiends of the French Revolution 
against the heroic Vendeans. In 1642-43, ten Spanish missionaries were 
massacred after horrid tortures, and a similar fate was meted out to another 



Feb. 5] -THE JAPANESE MARTYRS 3^ 

band of religious in 1 647. Japan thus became a living tomb of the faithful. 
A price was put on the heads of all Christians, native or foreign, and 
every year the Japanese people collectively and individually were called 
upon to show their hatred of the Faith by trampling publicly on the crucifix 1 
Had this and the other edicts been strictly enforced, the remnant of the 
suffering Church must ere long have been entirely exterminated, but no 
doubt the system of feudalism, already referred to, which rendered the local 
lords semi-independent of the Mikado, and the consequent lax enforce- 
ment of the decree in many districts, enabled the spark of Christianity 
to keep alive. For two centuries, Japan remained cut off from the rest 
of the world, save for the intercourse kept up by a few merchants, chiefly 
Dutch, and so things continued till the treaty between France and Japan 
was signed in 18^8. By this epoch-making agreement, it was stipulated, 
among other conditions, that Christianity should be permitted in the ports 
of the country. To the amazement of Phre Petitjean of the Society of 
Foreign Missions and his colleagues, who now undertook the restoration 
of the faith in Japan, some fifty thousand native Christians were discovered 
in the country, and the marks by which this long unknown body of the 
faithful recognized their European brethren as members of the true 
Church were (a) the acknowledgment of the supremacy of " the Great 
Father ” in Rome, or the Pope ; (2) Devotion to the Blessed Virgin ; 
and (3) Celibacy of the priesthood. A wonderful proof this of the 
traditional orthodoxy of the native Catholics who had been deprived of 
priest, sacrifice, sacraments (except Baptism) and official instruction for a 
period of nearly two and a half centuries 1 

The re-opening up of this ancient nation to Christian influences was 
received at Rome with unbounded joy, and in 1 862, Pope Pius IX marked 
the beginning of the new and happier era by a great pontifical act designed 
both to remind the faithful at large of the marvellous constancy of these 
far-off children of the Church under such protracted trials, and to invoke 
the intercession of so many glorious martyrs and confessors. 

The Canonization of twenty-six of the martyred saints of Japan, in 
June of that year, is, as the late Wilfred Ward so well described it, one 
of those events in Catholic history which startle the secular world 1 ^ 
The time chosen for the solemn act was one fraught with the gravest 
anxiety for the Holy See, owing to the dubious policy of Napoleon III 
and his government on the Roman question, the thinly veiled hostility of 
the Piedmontese government, and the active, if sporadic attacks of Gari- 
baldi and his “ Thousand,” or rather, thousands of filibusters and re- 
volutionaries. Yet it was in the midst of all these menacing contingencies 
that the great and genial Pontiff of the Italian Revolution chose to in- 

i Life of Cardinal Wiseman vol. ii. 



36 THE JAPANESE MARTYRS [Feb. $ 

augurate an event of such interest and encouragement to the Universal 
Church. The celebration of the solemn Act brought crowds of the faithful, 
both illustrious and obscure, to Rome, including nearly three hundred bishops 
and over three thousand priests, the majority of these latter being French. 
At the semi-ofScial Consistory on 22nd May, the Pope gave an allocution 
of characteristic ferv'our and even heartiness, in which he spoke of the 
constancy and devotion of the glorious martyrs about to be raised to the 
altars of the Church, *and then with a reference to the sad condition of 
things ecclesiastical in Italy, His Holiness ended by requesting the prelates 
present to offer holy Mass for the Conversion of sinners. The Canonization 
celebrations on Sunday, loth June, were marked by extraordinary scenes 
of splendour and spiritual enthusiasm. St Peter’s, gorgeously decorated 
and lit up by hundreds of candelabra, presented a picture of Oriental 
magnificence, while numerous paintings set forth to the vast con- 
gregation, estimated at some sixty thousand, the saintly lives and heroic 
deaths of the blessed company now about to be added to the Calendar 
of the Church. The impressive ceremonial began at seven in the 
morning, and those present who remembered the minutia of Church 
history, remarked that the bishops there assembled — near three hundred 
in number^ surpassed the episcopal attendance at the Fifth Council of 
the Lateran, and came not far short of that of Trent ! Pius IX sang the 
Mass, filling with his rich and resonant voice those vast recesses and 
time-honoxired spaces, that during the long centuries of the past had 
witnessed so many stirring or consoling episodes in the history of the 
Church. During the progress of the festivities connected with the 
Canonization, the holy Father gave audiences to thousands of pilgrims, 
and blessed almost innumerable objects of piety, while the bishops present 
were made free of the City by the Senate, and each had presented to him 
a beautifully chased medal and handsomely bound book, as souvenii's 
of this epoch-marking event. 

The holy persons classed together as “ the Japanese Martyrs ” include 
the following : — 

Jesuits. — Fr. John Baptist Machado, martyred at Omura, 22nd 
May, 1617 ; Fr. Didacus Diego, m. at Sendai, 22nd February, 
1624 ; Fr. Michael Cavalho, b. 1577, tn. at Omura, 2yth 
August, 1624 ; Fr. Paul Navarro, 1562, ?«. at Semabura, ist 

* There were, it appears, 265 bishops; at the Council of Trent there were 300; but 
none were there from America or Austrah'a or Africa, and we had some from all these territories. 
His Holiness was quite well when we saw him on the fourteenth, a fortnight to-morrow. He 
spoke of England as the most precious stone in the Church’s diadem.” (Letter of Bishop Grant 
to Mr Thomas Arnold, 27th June, 1862 .) — Life of Bishop Grant, by Grace Ramsay. (Smith, 
Elder & Co., 1 874.) 



Feb. 5] 


THE JAPANESE MARTYRS 37 

November, 1622 ; Denis Fugixinia, native scholastic^ A Japan, 
1593, m. at Semabura, ist November, 1622 ; Peter Onizuki, 
native scholastic^ b. Japan, 1604, m. Semabura, ist November, 
1622 ; Leonard Kemura, coadjutor^ b. at Nagasaki, 1575, m. 
there, 18th November, 1619 ; Francis Pachdco, b. in Portugal, 
1565, at Nagasaki, 20th June, 1626 ; Baitassar de Torres, 
b. at Grenada (Spain), 1563, at Nagasaki, 20th June, 1626 ; 
Jean Baptist Zola, b. at Brescia (Italy), 1575, at Nagasaki, 
20th June, 1626 ; Vincent Caun, scholastic, b. in Corea, 1580, 
tn. at Nagasaki, 20th June, 1626 ; John Kinsaco, b. 1605, at 
Nagasaki, m. there, 20th June, 1626 ; Peter Rinxei, scholastic, 
b. in Japan, 1588, Nagasaki, 20th June, 1626 ; Michael 
Tozo, native scholastic, b. 1588, m. at Nagasaki, 20th June, 
1626 ; Paul Xinsuki, native scholastic, b. 1572, at Nagasaki, 
m. there, 20th June, 1626 ; Caspar San da Matzu, native co- 
adjutor, b. at Omura, 1565, m. at Nagasaki, 20th June, 1626 ; 
Anthony Ixida, b. at Arima, Japan, 1570, m. Nagasaki, 20th 
June, 1626 ; Thomas Tsugi, b. Japan, 1571, »/. at Nagasaki, 
20th June, 1626 ; Michael Naeaxmia, native scholastic, b. 
ni. at Semonoseki (or Mt. Ungen), 25th December, 1628 ; 
Charles Spinola, b. at Gfines (Prague ?), 1 564, m. Nagasaki, loth 
September, 1622 ; Spbastian Kemura, b. at Firando (Japan), 1565, 
m. Nagasaki, loth September, 1622 ; Thomas Acafoxi, native 
scholastic, b. 1572, 7». Nagasaki, loth September, 1622 ; Louis 
Cavara, < 5 . at Arima (Japan), 1582, m. Nagasaki, loth September, 
1622 ; John Ciongocou (or Tchoungocou), native scholastic, 
b. 1582, in. Nagasaki, loth September, 1622 ; Gonsales Fusai, 
native scholastic, b. 1582, m. Nagasaki, loth September, 1622 ; 
Anthony Kiuni, native scholastic, b. 1572, m. Nagasaki, loth 
September, 1622 ; Michael Xumpo, native scholastic, m. Naga- 
saki, loth September, 1622 ; Ambrose Fernandez, Portuguese 
coadjutor, m. at Suzuta, near Omura. 7th January, 1620 ; 
Camillus Constanzo, b. in Italy, 1570, m. at Firando, 15th 
September, 1622 ; Augustine Ota, native scholastic, b. 1572, 
777. at Firando, loth August, 1622 ; Jerome de Angelis, 
Sicilian, m. it Yeddo, 4th December, 1623 ; Simon Jempo (or 
Tempo), native scholastic, b. ISIS^ Yeddo, 4th December, 
1623. 

[F. Rouvier, S.J. : Les Saints, Confesseurs et Martyres d: la Com- 
pagnie de Jesus. (Lille, 1893.)] 

Dominican M.M. — Giordano Ansaloni (or di San Stefano), tortured 



38 


THE JAPANESE MARTYRS [Feb. 5 

to death in Japan, 17th November, 1634 ; Thomas, or St 
Hyacinth, 17th November, 1634 ; and over sixty other persons. 

Franciscans. — St Peter Baptist, St Martin of the Ascension, Francis 
Blanco, priests; St Philip of Jesus, clerk; Gonsalvo Garzia, 
Francis of St Michael, lay brothers; and seventeen Japanese 
tertiaries. The beatification of the Japanese martyrs to his 
time was decreed by Urban VIII, and celebrated, 14th September, 
1627, so that almost two hundred and thirty-five years inter- 
vened between the two last stages of this memorable canonical 
process. 

iV.B. — Though there was an outburst of hostility in Japan against the 
native Christians the very year the martyrs of their country were 
canonized (1862), and Bishop Grant,^ and no doubt some others, antici- 
pated a probable renewal of something like the persecuting experiences 
of the seventeenth century, the menace happily passed away after the 
worst phase, that of 1867, when some forty thousand of the Japanese 
faithful were deported to various parts of the Empire. Since 1873, religious 
toleration has reigned in Japan, and the progress of Catholicism has been 
very encouraging. The two Vicariates, into which the country was divided 
by Pius IX in 1876, have become a regular Episcopate (since June, 1896), 
when an Archbishop and three Suffragans were appointed by Leo XIII. 
The first native Bishop, Monsignor Hyasaka, was consecrated to the See 
of Nagasaki by Pope Pius XI at St Peter’s, Sunday, 31st October, 1926. 
At present (1927), the Japanese Government contemplates the appoint- 
ment of an embassy to the Holy See, while the attitude of the authorities 
to Catholics and their activities, religious and secular, is not only respectful, 
but even cordial. Japanese persons of influence are even co-operating in 
the erection of memorials to some of the martyred missionaries of the 
past, notably in the case of Fr. Sotelo, who gave his life pro fide at Sendai 
(seventeenth century). During his recent visit to Europe, the present 
Emperor, at his own special request, had a private audience with the 
Holy Father, by whom he was received with the full honours accorded 
to sovereign princes. The flourishing colleges, convents, and other in- 
stitutions of learning and utility under the various religious orders in 
Japan, are largely attended by the families of the nobility and influential 
classes. So much for the bright side of the picture. It is frankly admitted, 
however, that the progress of the Faith has not kept pace with the growth 
of population, owing to lack of native priests and catechists, and the changed 
outlook of the people on foreigners, especially since the Russo-Japanese 
War. The defeat of a mighty power, so largely regarded as European, 

^ Letter. 



Feb. 5] ST PHILIP OF JESUS 30 

has caused the Japanese to look down on Western peoples and all that 
pertains to them, while the national cult of “ sacred patriotism,” involving 
as it does the worship of the Emperor — the modern equivalent of the 
“ Divus Imperator ” of the ancient Romans — and of the souls of the 
departed heroes of the nation, has further intensified the feeling, and caused, 
moreover, a new and powerful revival of the ancient Shinto religion. 
Joined to all this are the strong Buddhist sentiments of the country people 
and the lax morality which — last unhappy trait — materialistic and even 
atheistic ideas from the godless universities of Europe and America, tend 
powerfully to foster. The confusion caused by the multifarious contra- 
dictions of Protestantism is another factor making for difficulty of con- 
version, but despite the somewhat forbidding prospect, signs are not 
wanting to show that Japan’s spiritual future gives ground for hope. 
Through the multiplication of native priests, schools, and missionary 
organizations generally — including, of course, a vast increase of the 
power of the already widely diffused Catholic press — it is believed that a 
powerful barrier will be erected against the disintegrating forces before 
mentioned, and the Faith — already watered by the blood of so many 
martyrs — ^assured of a fair field even if there be no favour I 

[Leon Page : History of the Christian Religion in Japan, Paris, 1870. 
Charles Sommervogel : Bibliotheqtte de la Compagnie de 
Jesus. Alzog : Church History, vol. iii. F. Rouvier, S.J. : 
Le Saints ... de la Compagnie de Jesus (Lille, 1893). The 
Messenger of the Sacred Heart, August, 1926. The Universe, 
various numbers, 1927.] 


FEBRUARY 5 

ST PHILIP OF JESUS, O.S.F., MARTYR, 

PATRON OF MEXICO CITY 

( ?-i597) 

He was born in Mexico, probably about the middle of the sixteenth 
century, and is said to have shown in his boyhood no sign of a religious 
vocation, being frivolous and addicted to amusement. He, nevertheless, 
joined the Franciscans, but left them in 1589, to go to the Philippine 
Islands, where he is reported to have devoted himself to mundane pleasures, 
though to what extent does not appear. But a call to a devout and holy 
life seems to have quickly followed this indulgence in the wholly un- 
satisfying gratifications of the world, and next year Philip again rejoined 
the Seraphic Order at Manila. While on the voyage to Mexico City, to 



40 JAMES SALES & WILLIAM SAULTEMOUCHE {Ebb. 6 

be ordained priest, in 1596, the San Felipe, the vessel which carried Brother 
Philip and his companions, was wrecked off Japan, and the crew on 
reaching shore was carried before the governor of the province. It has 
been stated that it was the discovery of a cannon and some ammunition on 
board which first aroused the suspicions of the natives, but this does not 
appear to have been the case. All merchantmen then, and for long after, 
carried guns, both as defence against pirates, etc., and for firing signals. 
The fact is, it was the folly of the captain and some of the crew who boasted 
of the power of the King of Spain and what he could do — or intended to 
do — against the country, that brought about the whole trouble. The 
entire ship’s company, including about a dozen Franciscans and Jesuit 
clerics, were thrust into prison, and after some months conducted to 
Nagasaki, where the ecclesiastical section alone, apparently, was called 
upon to abjure the Christian faith. Upon a general refusal, they were all 
sentenced to death, and the sentence being confirmed by the Emperor 
Taico Sama (or Hideoshi), the martyrs were led up a mountain-side 
near the city and there crucified in Japanese fashion, by being first bound 
to crosses, and then transfixed with lances. St Philip and the rest of the 
sufferers, his companions, were beatified by Urban VIII, 14th September, 
162.7, and canonized by Pius IX, loth June, 1862. 

[See Martyrs of Japan (preceding article). Grace Ramsay ; Life 
of Thomas Grant, First Bishop of Southwark, (Smith, Elder 
& Co., 1874.).] 


FEBRUARY 6 

THE BLESSED JAMES SALES AND BROTHER WILLIAM 
SAULTEMOUCHE, S.J., MARTYRS 

( '’-1593) 

In a note to Vol. iii of his valuable Church History (p. 573), Alzog informs 
us that the origin of the name “ Huguenot ” is not, as is commonly 
supposed, from Eidgnossen, or banded together by oath, but from 
Hugonot, an old French word, meaning “ Night-ghost,” an allusion, of 
course, to the nocturnal assemblies of the first followers of the 
Reformation in France. Whatever may be the derivation of the name, 
there is no doubt that from the establishment of the initial Protestant 
congregation at Meaux, in or about 15^0, by William Farel — whom even 
the easy-going and tolerant Erasmus, called ” the most shameless and 
abusive man he had ever met 1 ” — the whole policy of the Huguenots 
was one of implacable hostility to the dominant religion of the French 
people. Not only was the Mass publicly blasphemed, but sacred 



F£b. 6] JAMES SALES & WILLIAM SAULTEMOUCHE 41 

memorials, such as the crucifix, and statues of the Blessed Virgin and 
the Saints, were ever}^vhere destroyed or defaced 1 To such a length did 
these continued wanton outrages go, that the Government was finally 
forced to take action, and issue the first of those repressive edicts which 
were really necessary if the material fabric of the Church of Charlemagne 
and St Louis was not to perish with its doctrine 1 These severe measures 
are all the more remarkable, as at that time the spirit of the ruling powers 
in France was anything but intolerant. In the first place, the King, 
Francis I, was the sworn ally of the Lutheran princes of Germany in their 
antagonism to his great rival, Charles V. Then the Sorbonne, too, was not 
only the guardian of the " Gallican Liberties,” but was also liberal and 
Erastian in a way that certainly did not encourage an overmastering zeal 
tor traditional orthodoxy 1 Moreover, there was in society a sort of fashion 
for maintaining crotchets and freak notions in religion, which greatly 
facilitated a general easy acquiescence in all manner of doctrinal novelties. 
Lastly, a number of influential persons, such as the King’s mistress, the 
Duchesse d’Estampes, his sister, Margaret, later Queen of Navarre, and 
Jean de Belloy, Bishop of Paris — this latter subsequently a Cardinal of 
the mundane Richelieu-Mazarin type — patronized for personal or political 
purposes, the supporters of the Reformation in France. Conditions being 
thus favourable to their cause, ordinary prudence on the part of the French 
Calvinists would, in ail probability, have secured for them a practical 
toleration, but as we have remarked, they sought not freedom of worship, but 
liberty to impose by force the gloom of Geneva on the rest of their country- 
men, and hence the almost half century of bloodshed and anarchy which 
cost the nation millions of lives and the destruction of tens of thousands 
of buildings, sacred and profane P It is no part of this account to follow, 
even in outline, the horrifying wars of religion in France. But there, 
as elsewhere during this period of spiritual and social upheaval, it was 
“ the Mass that mattered,” and it is with two of the martyrs of the 
Blessed Sacrament at Aubenas that the present narrative is chiefly con- 
cerned, the previous remarks on the general causes that led up to this, 
as to countless other tragic occurrences in France, during this period, 
being merely introductory and explanatory. 

The first of these two sufferers for the doctrine of the Real Presence, was 
Pere James Salfes, priest of the Society of Jesus, Born in iff 6 , the year 
of the death of St Ignatius, he entered the Noviciate of the Society in 1S73, 

* It has been estimated that the Huguenots destroyed some twenty thousand churches, 
monasteries, and other public monuments, including the tombs of William The Conqueror, and 
the rest of the Dukes of Normandy at Rouen (1562). In Dauphin^ alone, they burnt down 
900 villages and killed 378 priests and religious in the course of a single tebelhon. One of their 
leaders, Briguemont, was accustomed to ride with the ears. of slaughtered clergy dangling from 
his bridle and even neck ! 



42 JAMES SALES & WILLIAM SAULTEMOUCHE [Feb. 6 

and after the usual long and thorough course of preparation, was ordained 
priest and subsequently appointed to lecture on divinity in Paris. He 
was remarkable, apart from other traits of piety, for a great devotion to 
the Blessed Sacrament, and for a force of will which, under God, enabled 
him to obtain a complete mastery over a hasty and occasionally very 
violent temper. At the Jesuit College of Clermont (Paris), where he was 
Professor, he was also known for a happy and genial disposition, though 
at one period of his life he had suffered much from the gloom and de- 
pression, common enough at all times among certain spiritual people, but 
especially so at that epoch, when the devastating Civil War was raging 
all over the country, and the Catholic League was doing battle for the very 
existence of the Church in France. It is said that Fr. Sal^s always had a 
presentiment that one day he would die for the Faith. He had a great 
devotion to the martyrs who lost their lives in the contemporary per- 
secution in England, and always cherished a relic of the Blessed Edmund 
Campion. Not only did P^re Sal^ lecture and pray, but he also wrote 
many controversial tractates defending the various articles of belief against 
the attacks of the Calvinist innovators. He likewise preached many 
missions, and notwithstanding the great difficulties which beset these 
public exercises, owing to the turmoil of the times, they were generally 
well attended, and resulted in numerous conversions, both of lax 
Catholics to a better life, and of Calvinists to the Church. 

When Pfere Sales was a boy and attending the College of Billom, there 
was a servant of the house named William Saultemouche, who, like the 
pupil, entered later on, the Society of Jesus. His position of lay-brother 
caused him to be employed as hall-porter in various colleges and houses 
of the Order, and he soon was recognized as a simple, pious soul, mth 
all a sdnt’s genius for putting up with the troubles and rebuffs of life. 
Like St Bernard and his “ Ad quid venisti,” Brother Saultemouche 
invented a pious ejaculation to keep himself restrained and collected, when 
some unusually bad case of annoyance arose, and it consisted of the 
words ; “ Endure, flesh, endure I ” — a sort of brief summary of the Gospel 
adage : “ But he who shall persevere to the end, he shall be saved ” 
{St Matt. xxiv. 13). 

In December, 1592, P^re Sal^s and Brother Saultemouche came to 
Aubenas for the Lenten retreat or mission there and in the neighbour- 
ing villages. The sermons of Fr. Sales aroused much local interest, and 
in pursuance of a not very wise custom, but one which survived till well 
into the fourth decade of the nineteenth century, a public disputation 
was arranged to take place between the Jesuit preacher and the Calvinist 
minister of the district, M. Pierre Labat. On the day appointed for this 
doctrinal contest, the latter did not appear, much to the confusion of his 



Feb. 6] JAMES SALES & WILLIAM SAULTEMOUCHE 43 

friends and followers, and it was resolved that the priest must be got 
rid of at all costs, if the cause of la rejonne was to have any chance in the 
place. The town of Aubenas it may be remarked, had long been held by 
the Huguenots, but had been captured by the Leaguers six years before 
(15^7)* The incident just referred to greatly exasperated the former 
dominant faction, and things looked so ominous, that Fr. Salfes assured 
the Catholic governor of the town that the place would certainly be 
attacked, unless means were taken to defend it. No heed was taken of the 
warning, and on the night of 5th February, 1593, the inhabitants were 
startled from their sleep by the entrance of troops. Though the terrible 
Civil War was all but over, and Henry of Navarre, as Henri Quatre, was 
on the eve of declaring himself a Catholic, the general condition of France 
at that time was more or less that of an armed truce. Both sides still 
faced each other in hostile array, and now some of the Huguenot troops 
were in possession of Aubenas, their object being the arrest, and as it was 
to prove, the death of P^re Sal^s and his lay-brother assistant. The two 
at once hastened to the Church, where their first work was to consume as 
quickly and as reverently as possible, the consecrated host and communion 
particles to save them from profanation. In a short time the invaders 
entered the building, and after demanding from Pfere Sales an article 
which, as a religious, he did not possess, i.e. his purse, pulled him and the 
lay-brother roughly out of the Church to a house at the far end of the 
town, where they found the Calvinist minister, M. Labat, who at once 
began a heated discussion with the captives on the subject of the holy 
Eucharist. After a while, the minister became very abusive, ending by 
calling upon Sarjas, the captain of the soldiers, to drag the two Jesuits 
into the street, a request which was at once carried out. Years before, 
Pfere Salhs used often to say ; “ I have been thinking of martyrdom, and 
I long to give my life for God.” His prayer was now about to be granted, 
and Brother Saultemouche, too, was to be joined in the sacrifice. Both 
in that supreme moment calmly faced the angry crowd of sectaries 
and soldiers that filled the street, and gazing in the direction of the neigh- 
bouring parish Church, the patron of which, St James, they each invoked, 
together with the holy names of Jesus and Mary, awaited the end. Several 
musket-shots and a multitude of sword and poniard thrusts con- 
summated the sacrifice. Not for two years could the bodies of these 
heroic witnesses be recovered for burial, but, meantime, many favours 
and petitions had, it was piously believed, been granted through their 
intercession. Their beatification was decreed in 1926, by the present 
Pope, Pius XI, and now the names of the Blessed James Sales and the 
Blessed William Saultemouche take their place with those of our own 
country who, about the same time, likewise died for the sake o 



44 BLESSED THOMAS SHERWOOD [Feb. 7 

that same great dogma which is rightly known as the " Mystery of 
Faith.” 

[See Messenger oj the Sacred Hearty August^ 1926. Alzog : 
Church History^ vol. iii.] 


FEBRUARY 7 

SHERWOOD, THE BLESSED THOMAS, MARTYR 

(1551-1578) 

Owing to various mistakes in some of the contemporary and later accounts, 
several erroneous details have been handed down concerning this inter- 
esting personage, whose life and death are among the most edifying of 
the biographies of the English martyrs. The father of the Blessed Thomas 
Sherwood was a native of Nottingham, and for a time a student of New 
College, Oxford, but being unable to graduate by reason of the recently 
introduced oath of Supremacy, left the University and took to trade, his 
business being that of a woollen draper in London. He married Eliza- 
beth Tregian, sister of Mr Francis Tregian of Volveden, Cornwall, in 
whose house the Blessed Cuthbert Maine was arrested in June 1577. 
Thomas was one of the fourteen children born to this pious pair. He 
left school at the age of fifteen, after which he helped his father in his 
business, but owing to the ever-increasing penal statutes under Elizabeth, 
the family found it necessary to leave London and live first at Nottingham, 
the paternal birthplace, and then in Dorsetshire, where one of the sons 
was already married and settled. Most of the family subsequently returned 
to London, where they lived in great retirement. It must have been this 
period that Fr. Parsons refers to in the account he gives of the future 
martyr’s austerities, describing how he lived in solitary places, wearing a 
hair-shirt, and sleeping on a board I 

While in Dorsetshire, the Sherwoods seem to have become acquainted 
with Lady Tregonwell, relict of Sir John Tregonwell.^ That gentleman 
had been one of Henry VIII’s Commissioners for the disposal of the Abbey 
property, and as part of his reward received the estates of Milton or 
Middleton Abbey, a Benedictine House, founded as far back as 933 by 
King Athelstane. Sir John died 13th January, 1565, and apparently a 
Catholic, judging by the last part of the inscription on his tomb, asking 
for prayers for his soul. Whether this were so or not, his widow certainly 
was a Catholic, and it was in the secret chapel of her house that Thomas 
Sherwood, and, no doubt, the other members of his family as well, used 


* Pronounced, and sometimes spelt in contcmporar7 documents, TregonnelL 



BLESSED THOMAS SHERWOOD 


Feb. 7] 


45 


occasionally to hear Mass while in Dorsetshire. The lady had also a house 
in or near London, and after their return to town the Sherwoods apparently 
got Holy Mass and Sacraments there from time to time. Devout and 
courageous Catholic as Lady Tregonwell was, it was far otherwise with 
her son, George Martin. This “ Young Spark,” as Bishop Challoner 
quaintly terms him, was a hot gospeller, and he seems to have owed a 
grudge for some reason or other against Thomas Sherwood, and before 
very long had an excellent opportunity of paying off the score. Thomas 
Sherwood, believing himself called to the priesthood, subsequently went 
to Douay, but although declared by Challoner to have been entered on the 
list of students for 1 576, this seems not to have been the case. He conferred 
with some of the Fathers of the College, and as he was encouraged by them 
“ to fall again to study,” it may have been that he was not deemed suffi- 
ciently advanced in his “ Humanities ” to be able to commence Philosophy. 
Family affairs, too, seem to have entered into this obscure phase of the 
martyr’s history, but whatever was the reason, he returned to London, 
and this was the cause of his earthly undoing. For while walking down 
Chancery Lane one day, he fell in with the above-mentioned George 
Tregonwell, who called him ” a traitor I ” and other opprobrious names, 
which caused a crowd to assemble, and the luckless young man was taken 
into custody. He was at once haled before the Recorder of London, Sir 
William Fleetwood, a great enemy of the “ papists,” who, according to 
Challoner, examined him strictly on the Queen’s Churchheadship and 
the Pope’s Supremacy.” Fr. Parsons narrates that the prisoner was also 
questioned about the Bull of Pius V, Regnans in Excehis, and whether the 
excommunication rendered Elizabeth Queen or not ? Sherwood replied 
that, in view of the Bull, he thought she could not be his lawful queen. The 
case of the accused illustrates yet again one of the great hardships inflicted 
on the Catholics of this land by the painful, embarrassing, and as it proved, 
almost futile, excommunication of the Queen. No swords had been drawn 
to support that measure, the chief effect of which was to divide the 
Catholics, cause them to be stigmatized as traitors, and to put them at the 
mercy of the Government of the day. So embarrassing was this unfor- 
tunate document, that it was forbidden to be discussed at Douay, even 
in private, and both professors and students were ordered to give Elizabeth 
her title of Queen, notwithstanding the pontifical sentence, and the de jure 
claims of the imprisoned Mary of Scots.^ The authorities of the English 
College distinguished between the strictly spiritual authority of the 


^ Milner ; Letters to a Prebendary : That the authorities in Rome soon recognized the 
mistake in issuing the Bull was clearly shown in 1583, when Gregory XIII, the succwsor o 
Pius V, allowed the Catholics to recognize Elizabeth as de facto Queen. The Queen o co , 
of course, was the de jure heir. 



46 BLESSED THOMAS SHERWOOD [Feb. 7 

Successor of St Peter, and powers, which, however useful and effective in 
the centuries past, were now not only useless but harmful 1 

After being confined in the Gatehouse at Westminster, Mr Sherwood 
was thrust into a dark and filthy dungeon in the Tower, a frightful place, 
infested with ferocious rats 1 This alone must have been a horrible torture, 
being, in fact, a revival of a method employed sometimes to harass and 
even destroy Christian prisoners during the persecutions under the pagan 
Roman Empire.^ But the Blessed Thomas had soon worse torments to 
endure than even the presence and bites of Thames rats 1 He was several 
times racked — being, it is said, the first so tortured, “ for mere matter of 
faith in our memories ” — and racked, too, with such severity that even 
the hard-hearted Fleetwood, ^ who was present at one of these inflictions, 
is said to have wept 1 

Torture, of course, was then and for long afterwards, common all over 
Europe, but its employment in this country was, even at that time, con- 
sidered alien to the spirit of the law, in spite of Lord Burleigh’s published 
Justification in defence of the barbarous practice. It was frequently em- 
ployed in the case of priests to force them to say where they had said 
Mass, or otherwise officiated. But its use in Sherwood’s instance rather 
goes to prove that he had, as stated, expressed his belief in the justice of 
the late Bull of Excommunication, and that the authorities were trying 
to wring from him the names of other persons who had manifested approval 
of the pontifical act. If this were so, the torture completely failed to draw 
any accusations or incriminating acknowledgments from the prisoner, 
who under all these horrible inflictions displayed the fortitude of the 
greatest among the heroes of the Faith.^ 

So vile was the prison treatment of this heroic young man, that he 
must have died of sheer ill-usage had not the sentence of the law put a 

^ Rev, H. Formbj: The Little Book of the Martyrs of the City ofRomeT London, 1877. 

* William Fleetwood, the Recorder, as will have been gathered from the above and previous 
remarks, was “ famous for rigorous^ enfordng the lav/s against vagrants, mass-priests and 
papists 1 ” He, however, got into serious trouble on one occasion in 1576, for breaHng into the 
Portuguese Ambassador’s house in pursuit of a “ popish recusant,” Ambassadors’ premises being, 
of course, extra-territorial and privileged. He died, 28th February, 1594, a disappointed man, 
for not having obtained higher judicial preferment. 

* The practice of inflicting torture became generally so hateful to the people of this country 
that the Government ordered Topclifie and the other priest-hunters to use it privately on their 
victims ! This dish'ke of barbarity is quite in keeping vrith the usually humane conduct of the 
nation at large, except during the fierce controversial period called into being by the “ Reforma- 
tion,” and later during the “No Popery” frenzy stirred up by Oates, Tonge, and the other 
perjurers, 1678-81. Torture was declared illegal by the judges in Felton’s case, 1628, though 
the Peine Forte et Dure, or pressing to death in the case of indicted felons who refused to plead, 
was not legally abolished till 1771. It had not been used, however, since 1741. Torture was 
not finally aboh'shed in France till 1788 (Louis XVI) the year before the Revolution. 



BLESSED THOMAS SHERWOOD 


Feb. 7] 


47 


period to his sufferings. Mr Roper, son-in-law of Sir Thomas More, 
tried to relieved the captive’s immediate pressing wants, but the charitable 
intervention of this gentleman was frustrated by the cruelty of the Lieu- 
tenant of the Tower, who would not permit the prisoner “ to have the 
benefit of any such alms.” At length, on ist February, 1578, Mr Sher- 
wood was indicted in the Court of Queen’s Bench, for asserting that our 
said Queen Elizabeth is “a schismatic and an heretic,” and that “Pope 
Gregory, the Thirteenth that now is,” is “ God’s General Vicar on earth.” 
The martyrdom which followed the sentence of death on the 3rd, took 
place at Tyburn on Friday 7th Februar}', the sufferer then being as reputed 
about twenty-seven years of age. 

The Blessed Thomas Sherwood, as already mentioned, was one of 
those wonderful characters who, like the Blessed Thomas More, have 
led lives of extraordinary holiness and mortification, which even apart 
from their glorious deaths for the Faith, might have ensured for them 
the honours of canonization. While confined in his dreadful dungeon 
and tormented in body by his frequent and merciless rackings, the holy 
captive was often heard to repeat this prayer : “ Lord Jesus, I am not 
worthy that I should suffer these things for Thee 1 Much less am I 
worthy of those rewards which Thou hast promised to -give to such as 
confess Thee.” 

As in the case of many other persons who have suffered for the Catholic 
faith, the Blessed Thomas Sherwood is reported to have enjoyed great and 
supernatural consolations even to the extent of having the pains of his 
repeated rackings miraculously cured 1 For though his body was fear- 
fully distorted, yet within three days, so runs the account, he was seen to 
walk about “ in health as if he had suffered nothing 1 ” When the con- 
demned was on the way to martyrdom at Tyburn, a mysterious flame 
was declared to have been seen over his parents’ house, just as the pro- 
cession passed by. Some other curious particulars relating to the martyr 
are set forth in Fr. Parsons’ Domesticall Difficulties^ which throw much 
light on the “ Troubles of our Catholic Forefathers ” during this period 
of stress arid trial. 

[There is an excellent notice of the Blessed Thomas Sherwood in 
the Rev. Dom R. Bede Camm’s Lives of the English Martyrs, 
a work to which the present writer is much indebted. See 
also Challoner : Livesl\ 



FOUNDERS OF THE SERVITE ORDER [Feb, u 


FEBRUARY lo 

ST SCHOLASTICA, VIRGIN 

( ?-i543) 

[For Life of this Saint, see Butler’s Lives of the Fathers^ Martyrs^ 
and other Saints^ vol. i.] 

FEBRUARY ii 

THE SEVEN FOUNDERS OF THE SERVITE ORDER 

(1233-1310) 

The great impetus to the pursuit of holy poverty given by St Francis of 
Assisi, and the Friars Minor in the early decades of the thirteenth century, 
led in Italy especially, to the growth of much asceticism, and the desire of 
perfection through a life of retirement and mortification. In 1233 there 
were in Florence seven merchants of patrician rank, named respectively 
Buon figlio de Monaldi, Giovanni di Buonaguinta, Bartolomeo degli 
Amidei, Ricovera dei Lippi-Ugguccioni, Benedetto dell’ Antella, Ghera- 
dino di Sostegno and Alessio di Falconieri. They were accustomed to 
meet together to sing the praises of Our Lady, and on the Feast of the 
Assumption, 1233, while engaged in ibis pious exercise, it is said that 
the Blessed Virgin appeared to them, and bade them devote themselves 
entirely to the spiritual life. They formed themselves into a brotherhood, 
and for greater seclusion retired to Monte Senario, a wild and lonely spur 
of the Apennines. The fraternity left Florence in the order of a pro- 
cession, carrying the Cross and an image of Our Lady. A small rustic 
oratory was erected on the Mount at once, but until the permanent monas- 
tery was built, the little community led an austere life in the caves and 
holes of the. neighbouring rocks. It was near this eremitical abode that 
occurred the rapid and marvellous growth of a vine planted by the brethren ' 
— a growth which was taken to prognosticate the future and: wonderful 
expansion of the Order, and the dissemination of its spiritual fruits among 
men. It was at Monte Senario, so it is alleged, that the vision of Our 
Lady was repeated, during which they were ordered to follow the rule 
of St Augustine, wear a black habit and girdle, and live under the three 
usual vows. Ten years later, St Peter Martyr, Inquisitor-General of Italy, 
brought the new Society to the favourable notice of the Pope, but no 
official approval was given by the Holy See till 13th March, 1249. In 
1251, Innocent IV made Cardinal Gugelielmo Fieschi first Protector of 
the Order. -The name “Servites, or Religious Servants of the Holy 





rt 1 

Jj-iSGHOLAsfICft 


M 






yi''''/»Ci 








SAINT SCHOLASTICA to at. « 

Scholastica’s brother was the great St. Benedict. Scholastica herself became a nun, founding a nunnc^ 
near to his monastery' at Monte Cassino. Once only in the year did the two meet, and Scholastica, o 
loved her brother devotedly, on one occasion begged God to prolong the meeting. A sudden t un erstorm 
prevented Benedict from leaving, and so the two spent the whole night talking about hoI> things, muc to 

Scholastica’s joy. 












/3 

Feb. I i] founders OF THE SERVITE ORDER “-'49 

Virgin ” is said to have arisen from the following occurrence. Some 
members of the Order were begging their bread one day in the streets of 
Florence ( ?), when suddenly some infants in their mothers’ arms cried out, 
to the amazement of the bystanders : “ See the Servants of the Virgin 1 ” 
or, as another version relates it : “ See the Servants of Mary ! ” One of 
the children who spoke out in this marvellous manner was Philip Benizi, 
who later became General of the Order and one of the chief of its Saints.* 

The great trial of the Order came in 1276, when Innocent V meditated 
suppressing it in accordance with the Resolution of the Council of Lyons 
against the multiplication of religious orders. But the danger passed 
away, and, after more than two centuries of continued progress, Innocent 
VIII, by the Constitution Marg Magnum (1487), not only confirmed all 
former grants and privileges, but also bestowed on the Servites the same 
prerogatives enjoyed by the great mendicant and preaching orders. When 
the last of the “ Seven Founders,” St Alexis Falconieri died, 1310, the 
brethren already numbered over 10,000, chiefly in Italy and Germany. 
There were no houses of the foundation in England at the time of the 
Great Pillage, 1536-39, but at present there are three houses of men in 
this country', one in the Fulham Road, London, S.W., Our Lady of Dolours 
(1867) ; the Priory at Bognor, commenced in a temporary chapel, 1880, and 
transferred to the new church-residence, opened 1 6th August, 1882. The 
third house, St Wilfred’s Priory and School, is at Todmorden, Lancashire. 
The number of Servite Convents in England amounts to about twelve. 

The object of the Servite Order may be described as twofold. The 
first and temporary one was the pacification of Italy, torn by the factions 
of Guelph and Ghibelline, and the local feuds of the great Italian families 
which followed the lead of either of these parties. The second and per- 
manent intention, after the sanctification of its own members, was the 
spiritual betterment of populations and communities, schools and uni- 
versities. This is effected in the ordinary way by parochial ministration, 
or by missions and retreats. The principal devotion is to the Dolours 
of the Blessed Virgin and the Passion of Our Lord — those dual exercises 
of piety that have led so many to repentance and so many to 
perfection 1 The Seven Holy Founders were beatified in 1752 by 
the most learned of the Popes, Benedict XIV, and solemnly canonized in 
1888 by Leo XIII, the great Pontiff, part of whose mission it apparently 

^ Similar stories of prophetic voices are narrated even in connection with pagan history, as, 
for instance, the famous case of the child who cried “ Triumph 1 ” on one occasion when the 
Roman populace was greatly dejected by the early reverses of the Second Punic War. But the 
Romans were a “ Chosen People ” — a nation raised up to mould the civil and religious destimes 
of the world and the infantine prediction in question, if uttered, may well have been the audible 
expression of the will of Providence. 



ST BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS 


SO 


[Eeb. II 


was to disseminate in a world gone astray the true principles of Catholic 
philosophy. Among the other members of the Order publicly honoured 
by the Church must be reckoned St Philip Benizi (Feast, 23rd August), 
St Peregrine Tatiosi (30th April), and St Juliana Falconieri (19th Junej 
At the other end of the scale may be mentioned the noted or notorious 
Fr. Pietro Sarpi, better known from his professed name as Fra Paolo 
(1552-1623). Most of his life was spent at Venice as Provincial of the 
Servdtes, which office he first received in 1575. The “ Theologian of the 
Republic,” as Sarpi came to be styled, strenuously defended the Gfovern- 
ment of the Doge in its quarrel with Paul V, 1 606, and as in most Church 
and State disputes, certainly in this one, the secular party had, in one 
respect, much right to maintain. This was on the subject of criminal 
clerks and their amenability to the civil power. Considering the social 
condition of Venice and of Italian cities generally at that time, owing to 
great moral relaxation, the numbers of merely nominal ecclesiastics, and 
the prevalence of duelling, assassination and other scandals, few will be 
disposed to deny that the contemporary privilegium fori stood in need of 
considerable revision. Sarpi’s History of the Council of Trent is, however, 
so anti-papal and anti-catholic generally, that many writers are of opinion 
that the author had at heart the establishment of some kind of Protestant- 
ism at Venice ! The book has been criticized by many non-Catholic 
authorities including von Ranke, who, nevertheless, considers the author 
as the greatest Italian historian after Machiavelli — a judgment which, of 
course, may be taken in more senses than one. 

[Histoire des Sept Saints Fondateurs, Paris, 1888 ; Historical 
Sketchy published by the Catholic Truth Society.] 


FEBRUARY ii 

&OUBIROUS, ST BERNADETTE 
(SGEUR MARIE BERNARD) 

(1844-1879) 

Lourdes, which is now probably a household name all over the civilized 
world, was a somewhat obscure country town of France near the Pyrenees, 
down to the middle of the last century, though the place was not without 
its history. Roman and Saracenic remains proclaimed its antiquity and 
importance, and during the horrifying wars of religion in France, Leaguers 
and Huguenots had more than once contended fiercely for its possession. 
The natural beauty of the surroundings, too, made it a favourite resort for 
tourists and “ trippers,” brought hither in the char-a-bancs, that very 



Feb. 1 1] ST BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS 51 

practical French vehicle of the Thirties, which Louis Philippe made 
known in this country when he gave a fine specimen to Queen Victoria 
as a souvenir of his visit in 1844. Among the six thousand inhabitants 
of Lourdes that same year, was a miller and his family, named Soubirous. 
Fran9ois Soubirous had received the mill as part of the “ dot ” of his 

wife, Louise Casterot, but bad management — a very rare fault in France 1 

soon brought the business to ruin, and husband, wife and little ones had 
to leave the commodious mill-house and make their abode in a building 
in the Rue des Petits-fossds, once used as the local prison, and still at that 
time generally known as “ the lock-up ” (le cachot !). Bernadette, the 
eldest child of the marriage of this ill-starred pair, was born 7th January, 
1844, and baptized the next day, receiving the name of Marie Bernard, 
later abridged to Bernadette. She was not a strong child, for early in 
life, asthma and other troubles manifested themselves, but notwithstanding 
all this, she was very cheerful and lively. In fact, she cared for nothing or 
anybody as the saying is, and was entirely free from any kind of conceit 
or tendency to pose. It is very important to bear these facts in mind, as, 
of course, had it not been so, the future events which have made her history 
so wonderful would no doubt have been ascribed either to subtle artifice 
or to the " unnatural state of mind ” of a sickly child given to dwelling 
on the preternatural 1 Towards the end of 1857, she went to live with a 
family at Barters, named Aravant, where she was employed in the healthy, 
if rather monotonous, occupation of a shepherdess. While there, she 
was instructed in the Catechism by the local Cur^, an old man, who, it 
is said, wished to leave his parish to join the Benedictines. Bernadette 
was not happy at Bartr^s. She yearned for her home in the “ Cachot,” 
and in January, 1858, she had her wish, going back to Lourdes, where she 
continued her preparation for her first Holy Communion. A few days after 
the little girl returned, she went with her little sister, Toinette, and a girl 
friend, named Jeanne Abardie, to gather sticks on the banks of the Gave. 
All of a sudden, Bernadette, while intent on this necessary but prosaic 
work, heard a noise like that of a gust of wind, and looking up saw in the 
grotto of the rock opposite, a lady dressed in white. The child was 
frightened, as she afterwards said. She tried to say her rosary, but could 
not make the sign of the Cross till after one or two attempts, when 
she succeeded. Then fear passed from her and the saying of the 
rosary went forward easily. Meantime she observed carefully the dress 
and appearance of “ the Lady.” It was white, with a veil covering head, 
shoulders and arms. The sash was blue and there were yellow roses on 
the feet. The figure was surrounded with light. On Sunday, 14th 
February, Bernadette again went to the grotto, accompanied by some 
of her girl friends. She had spoken of the supposed apparition to her 



ST BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS 



[Feb. II 


mother, who made light of it as a mere natural occurrence. On the 
fourteenth, the vision came again, and only with difficulty could Berna* 
dette, who appeared “ smiling and beautiful,” be got away from the spot 
by some of the neighbours who had been called to the place by the children, 
who, alarmed at the long absence of their companion, had gone off to get 
help. From this time till i8th July, of the same year, some eighteen 
apparitions took place and then the manifestations ceased. Meantime, 
the reports of these extraordinary occurrences caused the greatest excite- 
ment in the district. The local priest, the Abb^; Pomian, as well as the nuns 
of the Convent who had instructed Bernadette for her first Communion, 
were long quite incredulous. Some pious persons thought the “ Petito 
Damizelo,” as Bernadette, in the patois of the district — one bordering on 
the Pyrenees — always styled the figure of the apparitions, might be the 
soul of a girl friend of the child who had recently died, and of course, most 
people regarded the affair as “ hallucination ! ” Not only that, but the 
general excitement was causing large crowds to assemble almost daily 
near the grotto, and under the Second Empire, the Government of Napoleon 
III did not favour these demonstrations. They were too often the prelude 
of those anti-dynastic and anti-law and order emeuies, which meant “ barri- 
cades,” and pitched batdes with the military. The grotto was carefully 
searched by the police to discover any evidences of “ trickery,” and persons 
were forbidden to enter it. Bernadette herself was closely examined, both 
by the local Commissary and the Imperial Prosecutor, but her replies 
were always humble, straightforward and entirely free from the slightest 
trace of vanity or love of notoriety. The gist of these communications 
was that the vision she had seen in the grotto of the rock “ Massabielle,” 
was that of a young lady “ lovelier than I have ever seen ” ; also that she, 
Bernadette, was bidden to drink of a mysterious fountain in the grotto, 
which, before unknown, began to gush forth from that time, and that she 
was to tell the clergy that a Chapel was to be built on the spot and pro- 
cessions made to the place Bernadette frequently fell into ecstasy during 
these visions, but after one of them, she addressed the following 
question to the apparition, three times : ” Madame, will you have the 
goodness to tell me who you are ? ” At the third request the Lady raised 
her eyes and said : “ Que soi era Immaculado Concepcion ” — I am the 
Immaculate Conception ! 

The temporary closing of the grotto, which was done by order of the 
Prefect of Tarbes, Baron Massey, was not in consequence of any really 
untoward incident, though there had been a certain amount of tumult 
now and then, and, of course, some claims to supernatural manifestations 
made by a few neurotic and excitable persons. The closing of the place 
was on the ground that the spring that had suddenly sprung up, was a 



Feb. II] ST BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS 53 

medicinal one, and, therefore, ipso Jam, Government property. Upon 
analysis, however, the water was proved to have no special medicinal or 
chemical properties whatever, and by a decree of Napoleon III the place 
was again opened to the public — pious and the reverse. 

On 17th November, 1858, Bernadette was again subjected to an 
inquiry, and this time before the Commission authorized by the Bishop 
of Tarbes, Mgr, Lawrence. Her replies, as usual, were perfectly honest 
and simple, and without any ulterior motive. After four years of due 
consideration of all the facts and circumstances of the cases, the Bishop 
of Tarbes officially declared that the alleged apparitions had all the “ appear- 
ances of truth, and that the faithful were justified in believing in them.” 

From 1858 to i860, Bernadette lived on with her family, but in the 
latter year tlie Curfc of Lourdes and the Mayor, M. Lacade, considered 
it best for her to go and reside with the Sisters of Nevers, and so avoid the 
very undesirable public curiosity and attention her extraordinary experi- 
ences had evoked. At first, Bernadette simply lived in the Convent as a 
sort of boarder, but in 1864 she was accepted at her own urgent request, 
supported by the warm approval of the Bishop of the diocese, as a pro- 
spective postulant of the Convent of her retreat. Her bad state of health, 
however, delayed her reception two years, and it was not until 4th July, 
1866, that she actually entered as a postulant at Nevers. Meanwhile, she 
had returned to her family at Lourdes, where she continued to. follow as 
far as possible the rule of her future life in religion. 

The Congregation of her choice — “ The Sisters of Charity and Chris- 
tian Instruction of Nevers” — ^had been founded in 1680 by Dom Jean 
Baptiste de Lavergne, O.S.B., for the care of the sick and the education 
of the young. The Rev. Mother, when Bernadette entered, was Mfere 
Josephine Imbert, a religious of .great holiness and prudence. She wisely 
caused the interesting novice to describe simply, but fully, to the com- 
munity her experiences at the grotto, and then forbade the subject to be 
discussed again. During the thirteen years of her life as a Sister of the 
Convent, ScEur Marie Bernard, as Bernadette now was, practised the 
virtues of self-effacement and mortification to a wonderful extent. When 
once a new-comer to the Convent, who had expected to see in the famous 
Sister something “ seraphic,” but who saw nothing extraordinary, and 
who, in an outburst of disappointment, could not help exclaiming : “ Just 
fancy ! only that ! ” Sister Marie Bernard, who, like the St Curd d’Ars 
on a similar occasion, greatly enjoyed the whole incident, replied laughingly: 

” Yes, only that ! ” After eight years of devoted service in the infirmary 
attached to the Convent, Sister Marie Bernard, in view of her rapidly 
declining health, was given charge of the Sacristy. A favourite ejaculatory 
prayer with her was, ‘ My soul, rejoice that you resemble Jesus in re- 



ST BERNADETTE SOUBIROUS 


S4 


[Feb. II 


maining hidden in your weakness.” During the winter of 1877, old 
trouble, asthma, increased, and to this was now added spitting of blood 
and an abscess in the right knee. On 22nd September, 1878, she made 
her perpetual vows, and on the 28 th March following, received the last 
Sacraments. She publicly, asked pardon of the Community for any faults 
she might have committed, and on the Wednesday of Easter week, i6th 
April, 1879, calmly expired, while appropriately repeating the last part of 
the “ Hail Maiy'.” 

Her body, which remained flexible four days after her death, was in- 
terred in the Chapel of St Joseph within the Mother House at Nevers. 
Her cause was introduced at Rome, 5th August, 1913, and on the 13th 
of the same month, the decree was ratified by the Pope (Pius X). The 
Ven, Sosur Marie Bernard was declared Blessed June 14, 192 5. Ever since 
ecclesiastical sanction was given to the public demonstrations of devotion 
at Lourdes in 1862, the reputation of the place as a Sanctuary of Catholic- 
ism, has increased with phenomenal rapidity, till to-day, the Shrine is easily 
the most popular with the faithful as a place of pilgrimage. The fame 
of the humble peasant girl, Bernadette, has far eclipsed that of Berna- 
dette, who alone of all Napoleon’s mighty Captains retained the throne that, 
was the guerdon of his genius, and whose family is still the reigning house 
of Sweden, 

In 1873, the great national French pilgrimages were commenced, 
and three years later the splendid basilica at Lourdes was completed, 
and the Statue of Our Lady therein solemnly blessed. The second 
Church, that at the foot of the former was commenced in 1883 and com- 
pleted in 1901, as the Church of the Rosary. The Feast of Notre Dame 
de Lourdes, i ith February, was extended by Pius X to the whole Church 
(i 907), and Lourdes itself is now a .separate diocese. The pilgrims to 
the shrine probably exceed a million a year, while it has been ofEcially 
recorded that about four thousand persons have been cured there of diseases 
regarded by medical science as “ hopeless.” A board of physicians, some 
of them not Catholics, or even believers, certify the cases as not likely to be 
cured by medical means before the fact is accepted, and no patient suffering 
from a mental or nervous disorder is entered in the recorded lists of persons 
believed to have been supematurally restored to health as the result of a 
devotional pilgrimage to the world-famed grotto.^ 

\Blessed Bernadette Soubirous, by Abb6 J. Blazy. Translated by the 
Right Rev. Mgr. Charles Payne, Vicar-General of Nottingham.. 
With an Introduction by His Lordship the Bishop of Nottingham. 
(London: Burns Oates & Washbourne, Ltd., 1926).] 

* The Blessed Beraadette was canonized fa/ Pope Pius XL, Frida/, 8th December, 1933, 
the feast of the Immaculate Conception, an act which fitl/ crowned a anique h'fe of hoh'nes* 
and lelf-efiacement, and signalized the final triomph of Lourdes. 



Feb. la] 


GEORGE HAYDOCK 


55 


FEBRUARY tz 

HAYDOCK, THE VENERABLE GEORGE, PRIEST AND 

MARTYR 

(1557-1584) 

In that veritable “ Romance of the Recusants, the Haydock Papers,” the 
late Mr Joseph Gillow has told us much concerning the Martyr George 
Haydock and his family, and it is to these learned, and often curious 
genealogical details that students of the subject are indebted for most of 
the personal facts set down in the following memoir. The Rev. George 
Haydock, born in or about 1557, was the youngest son of Evan or Vivian 
Haydock, Esquire, of Cottam Hall, near Preston, Lancashire. The first 
notable ancestor of the line appears to have been Hugo de Eydoc or Haidoc, 
who owned the manor of Cottam about the third decade of the thirteenth 
century. The name which is pronounced “ Haddock ” in Lancashire, is 
said to be derived from “ Hedge of Oak,” though the connection is not clear. 

The wife of Vivian Haydock died shortly after giving birth to the 
subject of this notice, and on the very day apparently that brought the news 
of the death of Queen Mary, and the accession of her sister, Elizabeth. 

As the Squire of Cottam stood by the bedside of his dying wife and mused 
over his impending loss and also the dark prospects of Catholic England, 
Mrs Haydock, divining his gloomy thoughts, pointed to the family motto : 
Tristia vestra vertetur in gaudium ” — ^Your sorrow shall be turned into joy 
(JSt John xvi. 20). It is supposed that his own call and that of two of his 
sons to the priesthood, was the fulfilment of this strange reminder of the 
personal meaning of the ancestral maxim. 

Several years later, the Rev. William Allen, the Founder of Douay College, 
whose brother, George, had married Mrs Vivian Haydock’s sister, visited 
his Lancashire relatives and friends, and among these the Squire of Cottam.^ 
As the result of their frequent conversations about the Catholic religion 
and its extremely gloomy outlook in this country, Mr Haydock took the 
resolution of entering the priesthood at some future date, when his children 
should be grown up and capable of managing their own affairs. The years 
of waiting ended in 1573, and then the Squire of Cottam, having made 
over the family estates to his eldest son, William, left for Douay College, 
accompanied by his two sons, George, the subject of this sketch, and 
Richard, who after his ordination in 157? went to Rome and became a 
doctor in divinity. The rise of the Reformation and still more the schism 
of this country from the Apostolic See, if they had caused the loss of 
countless persons to the Faith, had at least indirectly done one immense 
service to the Church. The controversies of the day had called forth a 

* The Founder of Douay College did not become I).D. (University of Douay) till i57J* 



GEORGE HAYDOCK 


56 


[Feb. 12 


shower, or deluge rather, of books and “ broad sheets,” dealing with all 
the points of the almost universal controversy, but especially such matters 
as the Pope’s Supremacy, the Mass and the Power of Forgiving Sins. 
The Catholic laity of England of the more educated class, were, therefore, 
as a body, very well instructed in their religion, and it was this consideration 
joined to the fact that he was now passed middle life, which no doubt caused 
Mr Vivian Haydock to be promoted to the priesthood after but two years of 
further study. He left for England, 2ist November, 1575, where he filled 
the post of agent or “ gatherer ” for Douay College in London. He was 
much troubled by the priest-hunters, and at length retired to Mowbreck 
Hall, the seat of his brother-in-law, John Westby. It is said that when 
beginning Mass shortly after midnight in the Chapel of Mowbreck, on 
the morning of All Souls, 2nd November, I5’83, the bood-stained head of 
his son rose up before him and the bleeding lips seemed to repeat the 
words : “ Trhtia vestra verteiur ingaudhm ! ” As George Haydock was not 
to suffer pro fide until the following 12th February (1584), this vision 
would seem to have been a species of “ second sight,” manifestation 
very rare in this country, but well known to exist in certain ancient High- 
land families, notably the Macdonalds of Morar, and the Chisholms of 
Strathglass.^ Whatever it was, the aged priest was taken dead from the 
sanctuary. The mysterious head is still — or was till lately — declared to 
appear from time to time over the altar at Mowbreck Hall I 

George Haydock studied his Humanities at Douay, and his philosophy 
and divinity partly at Rheims and the English College, Rome, but between 
the two courses, he returned to England for a short time for his health. 
His stay in the Eternal City coincided with the dissensions aroused 
in the English College by the excessive partiality shown to the seven 
Welsh students there by the Welsh rector, Dr Maurice Clenock. The 
thirty-three English “ divines ” made a great “ stir,” and one of their ring- 
leaders was Richard Haydock, the brother of George, already referred 
to. Cardinal Moroni (Morone), the Protector of the English College, 

* In 1797, the Abate Maqjhenon, the Agent of the Scottish Vicars-Apostohc in 
Rome, wrote to Bishop John Chisholm, Vicar-Apostoh'c of the Highland District, on 
the subject of “Second Sight.” In his long reply to the Agent, Bishop Chisholm, among 
other examples of the uncanny phenomenon, gave the instance of his own kinsman, the 
young Chieftain of the Chisholms, who fell at the head of his Clan, gallantly fighting for 
Prince Charles Edward at CuBoden, i6th April, 1746. This tragic event had been clearly 
foreseen and described several days before the battle by a woman who had the “gift!” 
Bishop Hay of Edinburgh (1729-1811), used to say that in all the mysterious occurrences 
connected with “ Second Sight,” he never knew one remedy to fail and that was fervent 
prayer, devout reception of the Sacraments and a firm resolution not to dabble in the jiretematural 
—a clear proof, added his Lordship, that “Second Sight” and its eerie manifestations are 
not from God! See TAi Catholic Church in Scotland, chap, xxi., by J. F. S. Gordon, D.D. 
(Glasgow: John Tweed, 1869.) 



GEORGE HAYDOCK 


51 


Fe^b. I a] 

ordered the malcontents to submit to Dr Clenock under pain of ex- 
pulsion, but upon the whole body of English students threatening to leave 
Rome, the matter was at length arranged, and Fr. Alphonsus Agazzari, 
S.J., appointed Rector. George Haydock seems to have had no share in a 
commotion which appears to have impressed the Italians very much owing 
to the stubbornness of the English, and the bold manner in which they 
" stood up ” to a great prince of the Church and his attendant prelates 1 
Health again forced George Haydock to return to Rheims. He was 
received with great kindness by the Pope, Gregory XIII, before his 
departure, and on and November, arrived at his destination. On 

a 1st December, 1581, the Feast of St Thomas, the Apostle, he was ordained 
priest, and on i6th January, left for the English Mission. After reaching 
London, Mr Haydock at once made for the house of one Hackinson, who 
had formerly been a tenant of his father’s at Hallowforth or Lea. This 
man, unknown to the priest, had since abandoned the Catholic faith, and 
become a Government spy or informer, and it was by his means that the 
newly-arrived missioner was arrested near St Paul's Church Yard, on 6th 
February, 1582. His captors, Norris and Slade — the latter an apostate 
and ex-student of the .English College, Rome — carried Mr Haydock to 
an inn, where were also seized another priest, named Arthur Pitts, and a 
young Templar, Mr William Jenison. The law-students, hearing of the 
arrest of one of their number, gathered in force, and considering the 
fierce “ town and gown ” spirit, then reigning in London between the 
prentices and the gentlemen of the Inns of Court, there might have been 
yet another serious riot, but the incident for the moment merely ended in 
a noisy discussion on religion 1 Next day, Mr Haydock and Mr Pitts 
were conducted to the Tower, and shortly after their arrival the former, 
in the quaint language of Bishop Challoner, was “ juggled out ” of his 
money by the Lieutenant, Sir Owen Hopton. For fifteen months, Mr 
Haydock was left in a remote cell, cut off from all the world, save for 
the visits of the jailer and a disguised priest, who occasionally came to 
bring him Holy Communion. Later on, he was removed to another and 
better cell, where he appears to have remained until his trial, 2nd-3rd 
February, 1584, at Westminster Hall, when he and four other ecclesi- 
astics were condemned to death for “ being made priests beyond the sea 
by the Pope’s authority,” and “for conspiring the death of the Queen at 
Rome and Rheims.” This last pretended plot was a fabrication to blacken 
the accused, and make the verdict of the jury against them a foregone con- 
clusion. The Recorder of London, Fleetwood, showed his usual violent 
animosity against the prisoners, which the late Mr Gillow thought might be 
attributed to the fact that he, Fleetwood, was the cousin of Edmund Fleet- 
wood, who at that time was endeavouring to involve the Allens of Rossa 



BLESSED THOMAS HEMERFORD 


58 


[Feb. '12 


Grange, the cousins of the Haydocks, in the penal laws in order to get 
their estates.^ After the inevitable sentence of death had been passed, 
all the fellow-prisoners were brought back to their cells. On the morning 
of the execution, 12th February, 1584, Mr Haydock, with the connivance 
of the turnkey, was able to celebrate Holy Mass, which he did with much 
devotion. When at Tyburn, he again disclaimed in the most solemn 
manner any conspiracy or injurious intent against the Queen, though he 
admitted to the Sheriff Spenser, that he had spoken of her as a heretic. 
When someone in the crowd remarked that all those present were 
Catholics, the Martyr at once replied : “ Catholics I call them which 
cherish the faith of the Holy Catholic Roman Church : God grant that 
from my blood there may accrue some increase to the Catholic faith.” 
After the butchery of the hanging and quartering, the head of the martyr 
was recovered by the family. The skull, enclosed in a faded velvet bag, 
was long treasured in the Chapel at Cottam Hall, but passed subsequently 
to the Finch family of Mawdesley. Bishop Goss of Liverpool (died 1872), 
however, was of opinion that the skull in question, is really that of another 
member of the Haydock family, Fr. William Haydock, Cistercian of 
Whalley Abbey, executed 1 537, for his share in the Pilgrimage of Grace 
of the preceding year. 

N.B . — ^The last Squire of Cottam, William Haydock (1671-1715 .?), 
took part in the rising of 1715 on behalf of the Old Pretender — the James 
III and VIII of the English and Scottish Jacobites. Squire Haydock is 
supposed to have died of wounds or chagrin shortly after the collapse of 
the rebellion. Before joining the standard of his jure King, he con- 
veyed the manor of Cottam to his brother-in-law, John Shuttleworth, 
Esquire, of Hodsock Park, Notts. The estates eventually went to the 
Cross family, ancestors of the present Viscount Cross. 

[Gillow : Bibliographical Dictionary of English Catholics. Burton 
and Pollen: English Martyrs, vol. i. Challoner : Lives . 1 


FEBRUARY 12 

HEMERFORD, THE BLESSED THOMAS, MARTYR 
(1553-1584). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

The late Sir Walter Besant, the historian of “ Cockaigne,” used to attribute 
the dialect peculiar to the lower order of born Londoners to the fact that 
this somewhat jarring form of speech, was the lineal descendant in true 

1 Rossall Grange, near Fleetwood, Lancashire, the ancestral domain of the Allen famil7, 
to which Cardinal Allen, founder of Donaj College, belonged, has since 1844 been the 
propert7 and name-place of the well-known pablic school. 



Feb. 12] BLESSED THOMAS HEMERFORD 

philological iine, of the Anglo-Saxon f However this may be, the custom 
of dropping the “ h ” was apparently quite the vogue with the class in 
question, and even with their betters in late Tudor times, and to it we prob- 
ably owe the fact that the name of the Venerable Martyr commemorated 
on this day, is indifferently spelt Hemerford and Emerford. The loss 
of a contemporary MS. “ life ” of the valiant witness, by Dr Humphrey 
Ely, has left us in the dark on this patronymic point as on many other 
matters connected with the tragic career now under consideration. The 
researches, however, of Mr John Bannerman Wainewright, M.A., have 
helped to fill up the gaps, and from his investigations we learn that the 
Venerable Thomas Hemerford, or Emerford, may have been the son of 
William Hemerford, B.D., Rector of Folke, Dorset, and Margaret, »ee, 
Copleston, his wife. The son was born in or about and if so, was 

thirty at the time of his father’s death on 4th October, Thomas 

proceeded in due course to St John’s College, Oxford, where, in 1575, 
he took the degree of B.C.L. — that academic honour destined to sink to 
the lowest depth of the University distinctions in the “ port and prejudice ” 
Oxford of the eighteenth century, and not to recover its status of learned, 
respectability until the era of the great scholastic reforms inaugurated in 
1800. After this achievement, Thomas Hemerford’s life again becomes 
for us a blank for several years. He is said to have kept his terms for the 
Bar, where his law degree must have proved useful at the erudite 
“ Moots,” then not yet extinct in the Inns of Court. It was probably also 
during this period of biographical conjecture that he was received into 
the Church, no doubt by one of the priests, who, even in that epoch 
of racks, ropes and quartering blocks, haunted the hostels of the law, 
winning converts here and there from the gentlemen of the robe with 
whom, indeed, as a body, the Reformation at the outset appears to have 
been anything but popular. Then came the call, not to the forensic toga, 
but to the priesthood, with the august Mass and awful Tyburn tree in 
the background 1 So in June, 1580, Mr Hemerford entered the English 
College, Rheims, for a short time, preparatory to proceeding to the English 
College, Rome, the famous “ Venerabile,” recalling always ancient 
memories of King Ina and the Saxon pilgrims to the Eternal City, though 
then (1580) but just recovering from the dissensions caused by the parti- 
ality of the late Welsh Rector, Dr Maurice Clenock, for his Cambrian 
compatriots, students of the place 1 At the English College, Mr Hemer- 
ford — as a fellow-student, Edmund Thornell, related many years after- 
veards — was noted for his cheerfulness and “ pleasant conversation,” 
though to himself so severe that even passing rebellious thoughts were 
instantly repressed by self-imposed penances of such severity that his 
Confessor at length had to forbid them I In March, i £ 02 ) b® raise 



6 o BLESSED THOMAS HEMERFORD [Feb. 12 

to the priesthood, and by that same Bishop, Thomas Goldwell, who had 
been secretary to Cardinal Pole — even before the latter became the last 
Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. Bishop Goldwell had abandoned, 
perforce, his See of St Asaph after the accession of Elizabeth, because he 
could no longer, as he said, “ perform a bishop’s office, being unable to 
celebrate Mass, minister the Sacraments, and preach.” The newly- 
ordained priest, before quitting Rome, was kindly received by Gregory 
XIII, who, among other spiritual favours, gave him permission to impart 
the Apostolic blessing, and grant a plenary indulgence to any person he 
might reconcile to the Church. The road to the deadly perils of the 
English Mission lay through Rheims, but like the Blessed Henry Heath, 
some sixty years later, the Rev. Thomas Hemerford was not destined to 
labour long in the troubled vineyard of his country. While waiting to 
have his horse shod at a village in Hampshire (unnamed) he was denounced 
by “ a malicious heretic ” as a priest who had lately preached in a barn, 
was thereupon seized, and after incarceration in Winchester Jail (probably) 
was sent up to London to the Marshalsea. His trial and that of two other 
priests for conspiring against the Queen’s life at Rome and for coming into 
the kingdom took place in the Queen’s Bench, Westminster, 6th February, 
1584. None of the priests in question had anything to do "with plots and 
conspiracies, though it is an undoubted historic fact that “ Elizabeth’s 
assassination was not an object which merely entered into the Pope’s 
political programme in the reign of Gregory XIII, it formed one of his 
constant and cherished desires. It is true the Pope himself in no instance 
hired and dispatched the assassins, but in each case, as it was brought 
before him, he gave the assassins his moral support.”^ Such were 
some of the genial world-politics engendered by the change in religion 1 
There were, however, a variety of causes which would consign a priest 
to the scaffold at that time in England. 

Thus, after 1581, any priest who absolved or reconciled anyone to 
the Church, was deemed guilty of high treason as he was by the Statute 
of 1563 for refusing the Oath of Supremacy for the second time.® The 
most, of course, was made by the prosecution of the foreign conspiracies, 
etc., against the Queen to render accused priests odious, and to dissipate 
any lingering scruples juries and people, generally, might have for con- 
demning men to a horrible death merely for matters of conscience. When 

^ Mejer: ^‘England ar.d the Caiholic Church under Queen Elizabeth^ Translated by 
Rev. J. R. M'Kee, of the London Oratory. (Kegan Paul: London, 1916.) 

* The Oath of Supremacy was not administered to the Peers until 1678 — ^The Titus 
Oates Plot period — ^when twenty- three lords, the flower of the andent nobility, were deprived 
of their seats in the Upper House, a right which was not restored to their descendants till 
' the time of Catholic Emandpation, 1829. 



Feb. 12] BLESSED JAMES FENN 6r 

at Tyburn on 13th February, the martyr was further troubled with the 
“ bloody question,” /.«?., as to what he would do in the event of the Pope 
invading the realm. His reply, that if the invasion was for the Pope’s 
personal aggrandizement he would resist him, but if for the restoration of 
the Catholic religion he would welcome the invasion, was an answer 
which accorded completely with the consensus of opinion of Catholics 
and Protestants at that time, who, in similar circumstances, always put the 
hoped-for spiritual advantage above merely temporal considerations. Our 
martyr appeared to suffer greatly — and no wonder — during the horrible 
butchery of the quartering, his evident torture was much noted by 
the spectators. A kindly answer given by one of the Protestant ministers, 
acknowledging the sufferer’s scholastic superiority over himself, deserves 
to be recorded as the generous and humble avowal of a true gentleman, 
and a pleasant note of Christain courtesy amidst all the horrible circum- 
stances which attended every Tudor execution for treason, real or im- 
aginary.^ 

[Challoner : Lives. Burton and Pollen : English Martyrs, Gillow ; 

Bibliog. Die.) vol. iii.] 


FEBRUARY 12 

FENN, THE BLESSED JAMES, PRIEST AND MARTYR 
(i’-i584). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

He was a native of Montacute in Somersetshire, and as a boy was a 
chorister at New College, Oxford, his brothers, John and Robert, being 
Fellows there. He studied at Corpus Christi College, but was refused 
the B.A. degree as he could not take the Oath of Supremacy. This occurred 
probably the last year or the last year but one of the reign of Edward VI, 
for after the accession of Queen Mary, he became Scholar and Fellow. 
After leaving Corpus Mr Fenn was taken into Gloucester Hall, as the 
authorities there were secretly inclined to “ the old religion,” as Catholicism 
was already then called. He coached several private pupils, but being 
presently compelled by the Cranmer party at Oxford to leave the 
University, he went back to Somersetshire, where for some years he 
lived as tutor in the family of a gentleman, and when that employment 

I “Then said a minister. Master of Arts of St John’s College of Oxford, ‘You and I 
ivere of old acquaintance in Oxford, by which I request you to pray openly and in English 
that the people may pray with you.’ Then said Mr Hemerford : ‘ I understand Latin well 
enough and am not to be taught of you. I request only Catholicks to pray with me. 

Whereupon answered the minister, ‘ I acknowledge that in Oxford you were always by arre 

my better. Yet many times it pleaseth God that the learned should be taught by the simp e. 



62 


BLESSED JAMES FENN [Feb. 12 

was over, is said to have acted as steward to Sir Nicholas Poyntz. Before 
taking up this last post, however, he married, and kept a private school 
for a time. The death of his wife after the birth of the second child 
seems to have turned the thoughts of Mr Fenn to the priesthood. He 
opened his mind to the chaplain of Sir Nicholas Poyntz, his former patron, 
and being advised to persevere in his resolution, he first provided for his 
children and then went over to Rheims in June, 1579. He was ordained, 
31st March, 1580, and left for England, loth May, the same year. His 
spiritual labours were chiefly in his native county of Somerset, where he 
is said to have reconciled many persons to the Church. But eventually 
falling into the hands of the authorities, he was committed to Ilchester 
Prison. To degrade him further in the popular estimation, he was loaded 
with chains and placed openly in the market-place on several occasions, 
but the people, so far from being prejudiced against him, soon began to 
feel much compassion for one who was treated thus merely for his con- 
science. Not only that, but many persons who had lapsed from the Faith 
began to enter into themselves while others were led to examine the 
grounds of a religion which less than half a century before had been that 
of the established Church. Fearing the result of all this interest and in- 
quiry, the local magistrates sent Mr Fenn up to London, where he was 
imprisoned in the Marshalsea. Curiously enough, he was not even then 
known as a priest, but was merely regarded as an “ obstinate popish 
recusant.” No sooner was it discovered that he was a “ seminary priest,” 
than he was brought to trial on the same day (7th February, 1584), and 
in the company with the Blessed George Haydock (y.'U.) and several others. 
Meanwhile, he had not been idle in the Marshalsea, where he adminis- 
tered the Sacraments and reconciled to the Church many persons con- 
vinced, as was Charles II later on, that Catholicism is certainly “ the 
religion to die in 1 ” After sentence of death had been passed on himself 
and his companions, Mr Fenn spent his few remaining hours in devotion 
and cheerful conversation with some of the inmates of the prison. At 
Tyburn, he again asserted his entire innocence of any treasonable designs 
against Her Majesty, but on the contrary, wished the Queen (Elizabeth) 

“ all manner of happiness.” On the way to his death, his young daughter 
Frances, like the daughter of the Blessed Thomas More, made her way 
through the soldiers, and received her father’s blessing amidst the tears 
and sympathy of very many of the spectators. The head of the martyr 
was impaled on London Bridge. 

Two of the brothers of this noble witness to England’s ancient faith, 
were also priests, and in their way great sufferers for the Catholic religion. 
Of these the Rev. John Fenn subsequently became chaplain to the 
Augustinian Nims at Louvain, where he died, 27th Deceiriber, 1615. 



Feb. 12] VENERABLE JOHN MUNDYN 63 

was part-author with the Rev. John Gibbons, S.J., of the Conceriatio Ee- 
clesiae CathoHcae in Anglia adversus Calvino-papistas et Puritanos suh 
Elizabetha Regina^ etc." published at Treves, 1583. It gives many 
biographical and other details relating to England during this period, 
and is an invaluable treasure-house of information on the subject. 

[Burton and Pollen : Lives : English Martyrs.^ i. Gillow, Bibliog. 
Die. Challoner : Lives.l 


FEBRUARY la 

MUNDYN, THE VENERABLE JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(1543-1583) 

Like The Ven. Thomas Hemerford and the Blessed Henry Heath, this 
sufferer for the Catholic faith seems to have been ordained chiefly to 
give the persecutors and the gaping Cockney crowd yet another instance 
of priestly devotion and fortitude. John Mundyn was born at Coltley, 
South Mapperton, Dorset, in 1543, and received his early education at 
Winchester School, founded by William Wykeham of happy memory, 
and " dedicated to Blessed Mary the Virgin.” At New College, Oxford, 
later on, he seems to have studied the civil law, judging by the admission 
he subsequently made when examined by Walsingharh. He became 
Fellow in 1562, but lost that position sometime after 1566 for not having 
communicated since the accession of Elizabeth. For several years after 
quitting the University, Mr Mundyn taught at “ divers places ” in his 
native county, including Dorchester, but is described as being constantly 
troubled for his religion. Then came the vocation to the priesthood, and 
the usual journey to the English College, late of Douay, but at this time 
temporarily located at Rheims. At Dover, the would-be Church student 
had a very narrow escape 1 The close watch kept at the southern ports, 
and especially at the ” gateway of England,” for “ Romish priests, Jesuits,” 
and suspected papists generally, caused him to be haled before the Mayor 
by whom he was closely interrogated. A form of the “ bloody question ” 
was even put to him in a demand to call the Pope of Rome “ a sorry 
knave 1 ” which Mr Mundyn refused to do. To all appearances the 
wayfarer was a lost man, but by this time, however, his Worship and the 
other municipal authorities had seized all the money of the' luckless 
traveller, amounting to about forty-six crowns French, and forty shillings 
English. To press the matter further, would, of comse, have meant pro- 
secution and committal of the suspect and the handing over of the plunder 
to the Sheriff or Lord Lieutenant, so it was decided to say nothing more 
about it but to allow the stranger to proceed. , Mr Mundyn, in conse 



64 


VENERABLE JOHN MUNDYN 


[Feb, 12 


quence, crossed the sea, and ended his unsentimental journey at Rheims 
on 9th October, 1580. As he did not “ live at the expense of the College,” 
he appears to have been an extern student until he left the place for Rome, 
1 2th August, 1581. By June of the following year he was already a priest, 
and returning to Rheims, left for the English Mission on 6th August. 
The few months that he ministered in England were, no doubt, passed 
in Hampshire, Dorsetshire, and the adjoining counties till February, 1583, 
when he decided to go to London. Probably the pursuit of the priest- 
hunters was getting very hot by this time, and a change of locality was 
therefore desirable. But his hour had come 1 England was not exactly 
an overcrowded country in 1583. Persons learned in the statistics of 
population estimate the inhabitants at that time at about two and a half 
millions. A man, therefore, might have ridden fifty miles in those days 
and not met as many people, yet in crossing Hounslow Heath, the then 
wild and desolate tract so long haunted by the mounted freebooter and 
the lurking footpad, the proscribed and virtually fugitive priest fell in with 
an enemy who recognized him for what he was 1 This was a certain 
Hammon, probably William Hammon, a lawyer and Justice of the Peace, 
and for Dorset of a all places 1 who was crossing the Heath, prudently 
enough in view of the gentlemen of the road — with a great company 
ike himself, all armed and mounted. The priest was at once surrounded 
and conducted to Staines, and a few days later to London. In his examina- 
tion before Walsingham, the latter inveighed, as was his wont, against, the 
seminary ^priests, but being satisfactorily assured by the prisoner that he 
was not of a seminary,” broke off, and railed against the English trans- 
ion o e ew Testament published the preceding year at Rheims. He 
anfl ^ violent blow, but notwithstanding all this, 

circumstances of his situation, the accused, 
ment of w adroitly managed to evade the artful entangle- 

loeia h 00 y question,” 1 by pleading that he was no learned theo- 

W A. ’■ Upon bring remanded to the 

“y to be confined in the 
of tie dark; fi, thy, and rat-infested 

the rack-house itself Wh “ f™. dogroos loss horrible than 

covered against nr ' a nothing of a heinous nature could be dis- 

a at that time, it was 

notoriously evil life the '‘'“'So them with being people of 
couched in that broad T„a i ooPP°tt of the same being 

istic of the bluntness of remains for all time character- 

Sir Tohn PnnVitjrva *1, ^ subsequent examinations before 

P , the attorney-genera], Mr Mundyn was held up to the 

^ See page 6i. 



Feb. 12] VENERABLE JOHN MUNDYN 

public hatred as a man of lewd and “ naughty ” behaviour— denunciations 
which were, of course, with a view to raising up against him a cloud of 
prejudice at his trial, which commenced on 5th February, 1583, when 
with George Haydock, James Fenn, Thos. Hemerford and John Nutter, 
all priests, and the predestined sharers of his martyrdom, he was indicted 
in the Queen’s Bench, Westminster, for having at Rheims and other places 
conspired “ to deprive the Queen and bring her to death ; to raise sedition, 
to cause slaughter and rebellion ; to subvert the government of the Kingdom 
and the sincere religion of God established in the same.” Sentence of death 
was pronounced on the seventh, which was met by all the condemned with 
the chanting of the Te Deum. The gloom that had come over Mr Mundyn 
in consequence of the vile aspersions on his character, seemed now to vanish, 
and he regained his former cheerfulness. The night before his martyrdom 
he wrote the following letter to his cousin, Mr Ducke, identified by Mr 
John Bannerman Wainewright, as the martyr, Edward Duke : — 

" CosYN Ducke, — I am now warnid to prepare against to-morrow to 
go dye, and yet I hope in Jesus Christ to live for ever, and having 
almost forgotten you and others my friends, was like to have passed you 
in silence. But I pray you make my humble commendations first and 
especially to my good Mr, and my only patrone, Mr Hyde, ^ secondly to 
that good Dr Mr Farnham,® the sweetest man in Christendome to live 
withall, thirdly and lastly to Mr President,® Mr Bayly, Mr Rainolds, and 
all other my good frindes, desiering them all most hartely to pray for me, 
and if I dyd ever offend any of them, that they will forgive me, and so 
i comitt you to God desiering that we may have togeather a joyfull re- 
surrection with my harty comedations byddinge you fare well for ever in 
this wbrlde. — ^Your loving frynd and cosyn John Mundyn.” 

At Tyburn Mr Mundyn was the last to suffer, meanwhile aiding by his 
prayers and exhortations his companions to fight the good fight. When 
several are in case, someone must be last, but it seems not unlikely that 
the lying rumours as to his so-called ” wicked lyfe,” had done much to 
make him odious in the eyes of Sheriff and executioners, who purposely, 
therefore, kept him till the end, the more to afflict him by the sight of the 
sufferings of the others. John Stow, the historian, gives the date of these 
martyrdoms as 12th February, the correct day, though Dr Bridgewater, 
in his account of the same, places it on the thirteenth. 

[Challoner: Memoirs. Bxirton and Pollen ; Lives. 

1 Dr Tliomas Hyde, Headniaster of Winchester School, when Mr Mundyn was there 

as a boy. . 

» Robert Famham, B.C.L., Fellow of New College, Oxford, then living in Pans, 

* Dr William Allen of Douay and Rheims, later a CardinaL 

£ 



66 


BLESSED JOHN NUTTER 


(TeB. 12 


FEBRUARY 12 

NUTTER, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 
(?-i 584). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

Even in the deadly game of hide-and-seek between priests and priest- 
hunters in the England of Elizabeth, the sporting instinct, happily in- 
herent in the race, had its part, as readers of Mgr. Benson’s thrilling 
romance, Come Rack, Come Rope, will remember. Being pulled out of a 
“ priest’s hold ” by a rough array of pursuivants, with the not unlikely 
prospect of rack, rope, and quartering-block in the near future, could not 
have been a very exhilarating game to the long-hunted sacerdotal quarry, 
yet even here, the grim humour of things now and then prevailed, and the 
;^nminary priest or Jesuit thus run to earth occasionally oflFered his con- 
gratulations to his captors for their sleuth-like perseverance and per- 
spicacity 1 The situation was taken, as most people in those hardy days 
accepted what was unpleasant but inevitable, t.e. philosophically, and with 
no disposition to grumble because the cards of life and death had not 
turned up trumps. To break the law and whine over the very mitigated 
consequences, is a social trait that has been reserved as one of the peculiar 
marks of an “ advanced democracy!” But among the many priest-martyrs 
who had no such “ run ” as was vouchsafed to Edmund Campion, Cuthbert 
Maine, Henry Morse, and the other Catholic heroes of the Reformation 
Sfurm und dratig, must be classed the Rev. John Nutter. Indeed, he 
belongs to the category of sufferers who simply walked into destruction — 
the fated few who were priested in some “ seminary beyond the sea,” and 
then came home to give life and limb almost immediately at Tyburn, 
York, or other well-remembered places where so many valiant champions 
of the counter reformation were glorified, John Nutter seems to have been 
a Blackburn man. St John’s College, Cambridge (not Oxford, as Bishop 
Challoner says) was his Alma Mater, and in August, 1579, he went to 
Rheims with his brother Robert, like him to be a priest, and to die for it 
in turn. Being of the ” ’Varsity,” and no doubt somewhat older than the 
ordinary run of Church-students, Mr Nutter was ordained deacon and 
priest, at Laon, on 22nd September, 1582, by Monseigneur Valentin 
Douglas, O.S.B., Bishop of the city — one of the many Scots who then 
and until well into the eighteenth centur)’', abounded in the various grada- 
tions of religious, civil and military life in France. He then prepared for 
the conflict of the English Mission, and made arrangements to sail with 
two other priests, Robert Woodreffe and Samuel Conyers, from Havre, 
which port Mr J. B. Wainewright informs us — as a very curious item of 
out-of-the-way information — ^was then commonly known to the English 


Feb. 12] BLESSED JOHN NUTTER 


67 


as “ Newhaven.” Contrary winds, long delay, and a resulting shortage of 
funds prevented the sailing of the trio, but after considerable waiting, their 
■ vessel got out to sea, and made for Scarborough, which shows that the 
destination of the priestly adventurers was the northern and less harassed 
part of the English Mission. For some time prior to setting out, Mr Nutter 
had been ailing, and now the sickness — fever it is somewhat vaguely called 
— began to gain ground. To this misfortune was added a violent tempest, 
which battered the wave-tossed barque considerably, and finally drove it 
on the shallows and sand-banks near Dunwich. While the vessel was 
being repaired, Mr Nutter was taken ashore by his priest friends, and 
lodged in a local hostelry, but it unfortunately happened that a report, 
true or false, circulated in the town to the effect that a pirate ship had been 
seen off Orford Ness, and, of course, the worst suspicions were at once 
aroused. Mr Nutter was indeed allowed to lie, ill at ease, at his inn, but 
his companions were committed to prison for further inquiry as to their 
possible sea-roving antecedents. 

Next day the crew of the Havre ship were got ashore, but the vessel 
itself ere long went to pieces. Among the goods salved for the benefit 
of the town were some bales which, upon being opened, were found to 
be full of what the local authorities no doubt described as “ popish books 
and massing stuffe I ” The upshot of all this was that Mr Nutter and the 
two other priests, Woodroffe and Conyers, were at once arrested, and after 
about ten days’ detention at Dunwich, were sent to London in the custody 
of the town bailiffs and their escort, to be examined by the Privy Council. 
Mr Nutter, owing to his illness, the villainous state of the roads, and it 
must be added the great cruelty of his^ captors, suffered excessively all 
during the journey. After a brief examination before Walsingham at 
Richmond, he and his companions were committed to the Marshalsea. 
Here, according to the details given in the Concertatio Ecdesi<e, he was 
restored to health by “ the favour of God,” and with the presentiment 
that his time was but short, he set to work to benefit spiritually such fellow- 
prisoners as could be persuaded to harken to him, and not a few were 
reconciled- to the Church. He was also constant in rebuking the vicious 


conversation and example so common in the jail, and his brave and salutary 
words seem to have been generally taken in good part by those for whom 
they were intended, for all recognized that the speaker was no ill-doer, but 
a most worthy man, who was merely there in consequence of his profession 
and conscience. Mr Nutter, to his great satisfaction, was given a garret at 


the top of the prison for a cell, a bare, cheerless place, no doubt, but one 
possessing the great advantage of the quietness requisite for prayer and 
meditation. Our prisoner underwent several examinations before the 
Council, and on the face of it, it seems not improbable that he would have 



58 BLESSED JOHN NUTTER [Feb. 12 

been reprieved after his subsequent trial, had it not been for the “ bloody 
question,” which the inconsistent and ill-advised Bull of deposition had 
by this time made almost inevitable. “ While every priest was condemned' 
to death who admitted he would side with his country’s foes, mercy was 
shown to the small number who declared in favour of their country in its 
campaign against the Church. They were not set at liberty, but their 
lives were spared.” ^ 

All modern ideas, of course, are on the side of the Elizabethans in 
this aspect of the case, thus baldly put. Every nation, it is agreed, must 
be master in its own house, as to temporalities and public safety, but as 
before observed, the question was totally different in the late sixteenth 
century. The traditional view that the occupant of the Holy See was the 
Father of Christendom, even quoad civilia, was still strong, and, moreover, 
more than half Europe looked upon the Queen as an impious and bloody 
foe of the true faith, a usurper and cruel oppressor of the de jure Sovereign, 
Mary of Scots. The Catholics of England were much in the position 
of the Jacobites of 1715 and 1745, plus the added complications caused 
by the “ religious diffiailty.” 

Mr Nutter’s reply at one of these painful interviews with the members 
of the Pri-vy Council that he would act as became “ an honest and Catholic 
priest ” in case of invasion by a Catholic army, must have sealed his 
fate, though he refused to say definitely what an “ honest priest ” would 
do under the circumstances. Not till 1588 was the general Catholic reply 
given in the most practical and patriotic form, and one which has for 
ever given the lie to the base impugners of the loyalty of the great majority 
of the adherents of this country’s ancient faith. Mr Nutter was tried on 
5th February, 1584, with the Ven. John Mundyn and the other priests,^ 
whose lives and deaths are set forth in these pages, and two days later in 
the grand old Rufus Hall at Westminster received sentence of death. 
The fame of his holiness had gone forth from the Marshalsea, and Catholics 
in great numbers crowded to Tyburn on 1 2th February to see their spiritual 
father fight the last awful but glorious fight, which was but one of the many 
tragic incidents of the great revolt of the century. And as they gazed at 
the scene of mingled horror and triumph, all ” were wonderfully cheered 
by the peacefulness of his brow . . . that ’twas easy to see no mere man 
was fighting, it was God fighting in man.” 

[Challoner : Memoirs. Burton and Pollen ; Lives : Eng. Martyrs. 

Meyer, as below.] 

* Mejer : England and the Catholic Church under Queen Elicuibeth. 

* For the mdictment alleging (falselj) treasonable designs against the Queen, see notice 
of Ven. John MnndjTi, under this date, ladi February. 



Feb. 1 8] 


BLESSED FRANCIS REGIS CLET 


69 


FEBRUARY 15 

BLESSED JOHN BAPTIST MACHADO, S.J., MARTYR 

(1580-1617) 

Born at Terceira, 1 580, and admitted to the Society of Jesus at Coimbra, 
1599. Came on the Japanese Mission, 1609, during the persecution that 
eventually resulted in the almost entire destruction of the native church. 
Despite the great difficulties of the time, Fr. Machado laboured with much 
zeal and fruit till his arrest. He was martyred at Omura, 22nd May, 
1617, beatified by Pius IX, with the other martyrs of Japan, 15^ 
February, 1867. 

[Mathew Tanner : Sochtai Jesu usque ad effusionem Sanguinis^ 
pp. 279-80. For the general history of the rise and progress 
of the Faith in Japan, see under “ The Japanese Martyrs " 

(P- 33 )-] 


FEBRUARY 18 

CLET, THE BLESSED FRANCIS REGIS 
MARTYR IN CHINA 
(1748-1820) 

The holy advice of Our Lord : “ When they persecute you in one city, 
flee into another, ” is brought forcibly to mind in reading the account of 
the life of this heroic labourer in the Chinese Mission field. Francis 
Regis Clet was born at Grenoble, France, 20th August, 1748, being the 
tenth of a family of fifteen childrenc The father, C^saire Clet, was a well- 
to-do merchant of the city. The mother’s maiden name was Claudine 
Bourquay. After completing his course of Human’ties at the Jesuit 
College of Grenoble, young Clet entered the diocesan seminary then 
under the direction of the Oratorian Fathers. He was already remarkable, 
as a student, for the facility with which he wrote Latin, and for great 
elegance of expression in his native tongue. The family of the Clots was 
a very religious one, and in 1764 one of the brothers, Francis, entered the 
Carthusians, while one of the sisters, Anne, either just before or after that 
date, became a Carmelite. Francis Regis felt himself drawn to the re- 
ligious life also, but to some order or Congregation that had for its object' 
the care of souls. In March, 1769, he became a novice in the Lazariste, 
or Congregation of the Mission at Lyons. The Congregation owes its 
foundation to St Vincent of Paul in 1624, its rule and constitution being 
confirmed by Urban VIII, eight years later. Francis took the vows 



70 BLESSED FRANCIS REGIS CLET [Feb. i8 

in 1770, and three years afterwards was promoted to the priesthood. For 
about fifteen years he filled the somewhat obscure but really very im- 
portant post of Professor of Moral Theology at Annecy, where he acquired 
the sobriquet of the “Living Library” 1 In 1788 the Superior-General 
of the LazaristSj Pere Jacquier, died, and Fr. Francis Regis was among 
the representatives who went to Paris to elect his successor, Fr. Cayla de 
la Garde. The new Superior, a very able man, was next year chosen as 
one of the representatives of the Clergy of the Tiers i.tat in the States- 
General, which in May, 1789, opened the tragic ball of the Revolution at 
Versailles. One of his first nominations was that of Fr. Clet as Master of 
Novices at the Paris house of St Lazare in the Faubourg St Denis. This 
spacious “ Convent,” as is well-known, was stormed by the revolutionists 
during the bread riots of July, 1789, and so much damage was done that 
both Fathers and Novices decided not to return there, at least for some 
time. In the event, they never regained possession of the house which, 
after the Reign of Terror, became a prison for female offenders.^ 

The rapid progress of the Revolution now brought all matters of 
Church and State to a crisis. In 1791 the Superior-General, Fr. Cayla, 
refused to take the oath of the “ Civil Constitution of the Clergy,” and 
went into exile.* At the same time, Fr. Clet received permission to join 
those of the Congregation who were labouring in the far-off mission field 
of China. In company with two young Lazarists, he reached Macao, 
the Portuguese Settlement on the Canton River, where he spent several 
months in trying to attain a working knowledge of Chinese. Later, he 
wrote to his brother, the C^thusian, describing the great difficulties 
arising out of a language consisting of sixty thousand characters repre- 
senting not sounds but ideas ! " No wonder,” he added, “ I came to 

China too late to acquire a passable knowledge of them.” Though he 
never arrived at any facility in speaking the tongue, he became one of the 
people, as far as adopting the dress, wearing ffie beard and shaving his 
head, could make him one. He lived in a wretched straw hut, which he 
humorously called his “ straw palace,” and during the year that he spent 
at Keang Si, he baptized about a hundred persons, adults, putting the 

^ B7 an Imperial decree, dated 27tli May, 1804, the Lazarist Congregation was restored in 
France,but thenew Mother House,95 Ruede S^vres.was not occupied till ipthNovember, 1817. 

* By the“Ci\Tl Constitution of the Clergy,” devised by the National Assembly, 12th July, 
1790, Bishops were to be elected by the Clergy of the respective Departments, no Bulls of Con- 
secration were to be applied for to Rome, the Pope as Head of the Universal Church — even the 
Jacobins conceded that much • — being merely notified of the fact of the election. The almost 
instant rejection of the schismatic measure fay the great majority of the Hierarchy of France, 
forms one of the finest object-lessons in courage afforded by Church history, and is in glaring 
contrast to the pusillanimous conduct of the Bishops of this country when called upon to choose 
between Peter and Casar in 1534 ! 



BLESSED FRANCIS REGIS CLET 


Feb. 1 8] 


71 


Catechumen in each case through a long and careful instruction. In 
1793 hic placed himself at the disposal of Fr. Aubin of Hou-Kouang, 
where he remained for the rest of his life. The centre of the Lazarist 
Mission in those parts at tlrat time was at Kucheng, near Lake Tong Tin, 
and the three priests in charge, Frs. Aubin, Pesnd and Clet, had often to 
traverse an area of fifty leagues in quest of their scattered flock. The 
persecution of 1784 and its aftermath of fear and dejection, had caused not 
a few of the native Christians to fall away, while many of those who re- 
mained faithful were addicted to various heathen practices. Not the least 
of the labours of Fr. Clet and his colleagues was the restoration of this 
immense parish to a state of greater fervour. Between 1795 ^797 

Fr. Clet lost his two brother-priests by death, and henceforth he had to 
labour alone. By dint of great prudence he was able to escape unwelcome 
attentions from both unfriendly neighbours and the roaming bands of the 
“ Pei-lien-Keio ” faction, at that time in arms against the ruling Emperor, 
Kia-King. The native congregation numbered about ten thousand, of 
which some two thousand lived round about Fr. Clet’s “straw palace,” 
as he still called his poor abode. He had now the assistance of two 
Chinese priests, but had to take missionary journeys that often kept him 
many months from home. In this way he visited regions that had not 
seen a priest for years, and wherever he stayed, he exhorted and catechized, 
administered the sacraments, and performed all the other missionary 
labours with the zeal of a St Francis Xavier, or even a second St Paul 1 
In 1810 the Lazarist Superiors at Peking gave him the aid of Fr. Dumazel. 
Next year, owing to false reports that the foreigners in China were pre- 
paring to take possession of the Celestial Empire 1 the Emperor issued a 
decree ordering all persons not natives to leave the country. But although 
upon the true nature of the calumny being represented to the Emperor, 
the Europeans were allowed to remain, much bad feeling had been excited 
among the ignorant populace in many places, and in 1812 Fr. Clet’s 
church, “ palace,” and schoolhouse were burned to the ground by a furious 
mob. Six years later, he lost his faithful coadjutor, Fr. Dumazel, but the 
work of the two had already borne abundant fruit. The Christians, now a 
numerous body, loved and revered their surviving pastor as a saint. 
Scandals had been removed, and even the pagans regarded him as the 
friend of “ the Master of Heaven I ” But the final trial was at hand. As 
in the days of the persecutions under the Roman Emperors, so it happened 
now to the Christians in China. They were accused in the May of 1818, 
not at aiming at the possession of the country, but of causing by their 
“spells,” certain atmospheric disturbances, and a severe persecution 
commenced. For a time Fr. Clet concealed himself with a Christian 
family at Ho-Nan, but was eventually betrayed by a native apostate on 



7a BLESSED DIDACUS (DIOGO) CARVALHO [Feb. 22 

i6tii Jvine 1819. For eight months he was carried from prison to prison, 
all the while being subjected to the various judicial tortures of the country, 
being now beaten on the face with leather straps, and now confined in a 
wooden cage, where one could not lie, sit, stand, or kneel ! On ist January 
1820 Fr. Clet and a Chinese priest, Fr. Chen, were sentenced to death 
at Hou Pe, and in February following the Emperor confirmed the death 
penalty in the case of Fr. Clet, for “ deceiving and corrupting ” great 
numbers of the people by teaching them the Christian religion. Early in 
the morning of i8th February, the Martyr-missioner was taken outside 
the walls of the city and there, before an immense multitude, bound to a 
cross and slowly strangled to death. It was noted at the time that every 
one, from the Emperor, who confirmed the sentence, down to the renegade 
who had betrayed the deceased, met with a violent death within six months 
of the tragedy 1 Even the heathens were impressed by the fact, and as 
some of them phrased it: “ See how all the persecutors of that religion, 
have perished 1 " The venerable remains of the heroic missioner were 
buried in the Christian Cemetery at Oucheng-Fu, but in 1868 were trans- 
ferred to France, and interred beneath the altar of the Chapel of the Mother 
House of the Lazarists at Paris. In 1 843 the Martyr was declared vener- 
able by Gregory XVI, and on 27th May, 1900, Leo XIII pronounced his 
Beatification. The life, heroic labours and death of the Blessed Francis Regis 
Clet have been a source of inspiration to many a labourer in this remote 
corner of the Vineyard of the Lord, and among them to the Bl. Jean Gabriel 
Perboyre, who, in 1840, shed his blood in the same sphere and cause, con- 
secrated by so many martyrs and confessors during the past several centuries. 

[An excellent biographical notice of the Bl. F. R. Clet appeared 
under the title of “ A Modern Martyr,” by Arthur Bariy, in 
The Ave Maria, February, 1926.] 


riinKUAKY 22 


BLESSED DIDACUS (DIOGO) CARVALHO, S.J., MARTYR 

(1578-1624) 

Coimbra, 1578, and entered the Society of Jesus, 14th 
November, 1594. He sailed for the Chinese Mission, 1600, and was for 
wmetime station^ at Macao, province of Quang-Jung. Proceeded to 

L^fMtsince*> ^ ^®ss continuous persecution had been 

the Jesuit Missions 

of the pShfL ValiL^^ extremely flourishing, one 

Of the Fathers, Valignano, having as late as r6o6, the year of his deai, no 



Feb. 27] BLESSED ANNE LINE 73 

less than ^ree hundred churches and thirty colleges to the credit of his 
own individual efforts! But the war against Christianity increased in 
violence, and among the victims were Fr. Carvalho, who suffered for the 
Faith, 22nd February, 1624. He was beatified by Pius IX, yth July, 1867. 

\Chronica de la C. de J. 71a Portugal, vol. ii., p. 194. Also the account 
of the Japanese Martyrs and the vicissitudes of the Faith in 
Japan, page 33. Charles Sommervogel, S.J.; Bibliotheque 
de la Co 77 Jpag 7 tie de Jesus.l 


FEBRUARY 27 

LINE, ANNE, THE BLESSED, MARTYR 
(.?-i6oi). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

This worthy imitator of the Ven. Margaret Clitherow, was the second 
daughter of William (John.?) Hejgham, Esq., of Dunmow, Essex, who 
seems to have been a scion of the family of Heigham of Hunston, Suffolk, 
a stock deriving its name from the hamlet of Heigham in the same county. 
Arms : Sa. fesse checquy or and az., between three horses’ heads, erased, arg. 
Crest : a horse’s head, erased, arg. Mr Heigham, the father, was a strict 
Calvinist, Calvinism being very strong in the Church of England during 
Elizabeth’s reign, and, indeed, the creed of Geneva was the beginning of 
that “ Low Church ” party, which has continued ever since to deny, and 
deny vehemently, the sacerdotal pretensions of the extreme “high ’’ counter- 
part of the Establishment. Great, therefore, was the old gentleman’s 
anger, when both his son, William, and daughter, Anne — the subject of 
this notice — became Catholics. He not only cast them both forth then 
and there, but effectually disinherited the son of the family estate, valued 
at about ;^9000 a year in present currency.,^ No further details are 
apparently forthcoming of either the conversion of the young folk or the 
“ penalty ’’ they had to pay in their being reconciled to the ancient, but 
sorely harassed Church of their country. ' The family estate eventually 
passed to a younger brother, and later Fr. Gerard saw him dressed in 
silken finery and showing all the signs of great temporal prosperity — as 
well he might, with such a fortune! — in his elder brother’s room. The 
latter looked anything but affluent, and we can only hope that fraternal 
affection got the better of religious animosity, and that Mr Heigham, 
Junior, remembered whose wealth it was that gave him so much worldly 
advantage! As for the sister, Anne, she had the good fortune— and one 

? But £700 a. jeai at the time. 



BLESSED ANNE LINE 


74 


[Feb. 27 


surely richly deserved— to meet with a young Catholic gentleman, Mr Roger 
Line, who, like her and her brother, had been “ cut off” for embracing 
Catholicism. There is an aggravating absence of dates about these periods 
of Anne Heigham’s history. All we know of this last-mentioned incident 
is that she and Mr Roger Line were married sometime prior to 1586, 
But the worst of their troubles were before theml In the last-named 
year, Mr Line and his brother-in-law, Wm. Heigham, were arrested at 
a house outside Bishopsgate, while hearing Mass, and they were hurried 
off to the Compter Prison in Wood Street, together with the priest, the 
Rev. William Thompson, alias Blackburn, who was subsequently martyred 
at Tyburn (20th April, 1586). Roger Line and Wm. Heigham were, after 
much imprisonment, allowed to “ compound their offence ” by a fine of 
100 marks each and a sentence of banishment. Mr Line went to Flanders, 
where he received a small pension from the King of Spain, part of which 
he regularly remitted to his young wife till his early death in 1593-4. 
About the time that Mr Line died in Flanders, Fr. John Gerard, the 
most venturesome of the English Jesuits after Fr. Parsons, opened a sort 
of residence or refuge for priests in London. Fr. Gerard, it seems, was -a 
remarkably shrewd business man, and some of his co-religionists — ^perhaps 
not uninfluenced by envy! — accused him of too great a devotion to the 
mammon of iniquity! Anyway, he used part of the ways and means to 
open this useful house of retreat, and he selected Mrs Line, now a widow, 
to be the housekeeper of the same. She was, as he says, “just the sort 
of person that I wanted as head of the house I have spoken of, to manage 
the money matters, take care of the guests, and meet the inquiries of 
strangers. She had good store of charity and wariness, and in great patience 
she possessed her soul.” 

This tribute was in every way deserved. Anne Line, despite con- 
stitutional ill-health — dropsical maladies and headaches are mentioned — 
was a woman of no ordinary kind. Her experiences seem to have quite 
weaned her from the world, without the least embittering her, and she 
rightly sought consolation in prayer, meditation and weekly communion 
— ^the latter practice then a rare one even in countries where the Church 
was free and untrammelled. She had a sort of holy envy of the priests, 
because they were so often called to martyrdom, while she was forced to 
be a mere spectator of these spiritual triximphs! It is said that the Rev. 
W. Thompson {alias Blackburn), above-mentioned, had assured her before 
his death that he would pray that she, too, might be permitted to give her 
life in witness of the true faith. 

By the help of two lay-brothers and a w^der, Fr. Gerard escaped from 
the Tower early in October, 1597. He had endured, while there, the 
fearful torture of being suspended by his wrists, no less than eight times! 



75 


Mar. i] venerable STEPHEN ROWSHAM 

But by this year, the retreat already described, had become insecure, so 
another was opened elsewhere, and Anne Line, of course, put in charge 
of it. On Candlemas day, i6oi, Fr. Francis Page, S.J., arranged to say 
Mass there, but the great concourse of Catholics who came to be present at it, 
attracted attention, and the pursuivants burst in. The celebrant had just time 
to slip into a secret hiding-place prepared by Mrs Line, and effect his escape, 
but his protectress was arrested, together with Ralph Slyford and Mrs 
Margaret Gage, daughter of Lord Copley de Gatton. Harbouring priests 
was a felony, and therefore capital by the %^th Elizabeth^ and on 26th 
February, 1 601, Anne Line stood her trial at the Old Bailey on that charge. It 
is just possible that she might have secured an acquittal, owing to the absence 
of any very clear evidence, such confusion was there at the time of arrest, but 
when called upon to plead, instead of denying the fact, she boldly told the 
Court that, so far from regretting having concealed a priest, she only grieved 
that she “ could not receive a thousand morel ” Even without so anti- 
papal a judge as Sir John Popham, who presided at the trial, a conviction 
would have been inevitable, after such an admission as that. What she 
had told the Court, she repeated at Tyburn, on 27th February ; “ I am 
sentenced to die,” said this valiant woman, “ for harbouring a Catholic 
priest, and so far I am from repenting for having so done, that I wish, 
with all my soul, that where I have entertained one, I could have enter- 
tained a thousand 1 ” With this great heroine of the fight for the faith in 
Elizabethan days, also suffered the Rev. Roger Filcock, S.J., and Dom 
Mark Barkworth, O.S.B., both for their priesthood. 

[There is a contemporary account of Anne Line’s trial and death 
in the Duke of Rutland’s AifSS. Challoner : Memoirs^ i. 
Gillow; Bibliographical Dictionary^ iv. Burke ; Landed 
Gentry-I 


MARCH I 

ROWSHAM, THE VENERABLE STEPHEN 
PRIEST, MARTYR 
(?-i587?) 

Some mysticism, and it may be added some mystery, appear to hang 
around the name and history of this staunch witness for the Catholic faith. 
An Oxford man, he knew “ the Shades of Oriel,” and, like the illustrious 
Oratorian Cardinal, who centuries later, in a far different way, was to oppose 
the negations and misrepresentations of the great “ national apostasy, 
he was Rector of that St Mary’s Church, destined to hear the magic call 



76 VENERABLE STEPHEN ROWSHAM [Mar, i 

of Nevraian’s enthralling voice. Like the mighty leader of the Oxford 
Movement, too, he had his period of doubt. Indeed, it must have been 
difficult for earnest and logical-minded men to have been free from grave 
misgivings during that period, 1570-80. Some forty years before, the 
Catholic Church had been enthroned in the land as the faith of the Ages. 
The “glorious hierarchy” of the nation stood linked, apparently in- 
dissolubly, to Rome by a common creed, and the dramatic ties of sacred 
Palliiuns and solemn Bulls of consecration, renewed as often as death 
removed from this “ weary world ” the primates and bishops of the realm. 
What changes, nay, what a revolution had come upon the country in the 
meanwhile! The Mass banned and proscribed! — ^Lutheran and Calvinistic 
heresies rampant — the shadow of St Peter dispelled and his obedience 
made a dire and deadly offence! No wonder Stephen Rowsham and many 
like him, had qualms! But he, at least, sanctified his adversity of doubt 
by constant prayer, and even before the great renunciation was made, he 
is said to have seen a mystic crown of stars standing over his head during 
a shower of meteors that called dons and students from their colleges 
and halls one night at Oxford towards the close of his residence there. It 
was, of course, the age when gentle and simple hung upon “portents,” 
and the astrological calculations and horoscopes of Dr Dee, and the rest 
of the black brotherhood. But our Rector sought no astral promise of 
worldly benefit. He had already made up his mind as to his “ call,” and 
all he saw in the ominous coronet of stars was a vocation to the Catholic 
faith, its priesthood, and a martyr’s crown 1 With this object in view he 
left Oxford for ever, and on 23rd April (St George’s day), 1581, arrived 
at Rheims. The professors there must have been thoroughly satisfied as 
to the theological and general attainments of the ex-Rector of St Mary’s, 
for by St Michaelmas day following (29th September), he was ordained 
priest at Soissons. He left for England, 30th April, 1582, in company 
with the Venerable Robert Ludlam, destined like him to die for the faith. 
Not only were all the ports and landing-places of the Kingdom at that 
time closely watched, but Walsingham’s spies abounded everywhere — in 
Rome, at Rheims, and the other foreign seminaries, and even sovereign 
courts ! Full descriptions of priests and others likely to be sent to England 
for the purpose of reconciling any of Her Majesty’s subjects, or per- 
forming any of the rites of the old religion, were printed and passed from 
hand to hand, so it was extremely difficult for any suspected person to 
enter the country. Added to this, Mr Rowsham, though a man of “ hand- 
some and manly face,” had, like Richard III, a wry neck, and one shoulder 
higher than the other. These very obvious defects, needless to say, made 
him an easy prey, and on 19th May, the same year, he was not only in 
custody, but a prisoner in the Tower I 



Mar. r] VENERABLE STEPHEN ROWSHAM 77 

While in this grim antechamber of death, Mr Rowsham is reported 
to have received in the most mysterious manner the requisites for saying 
holy Mass in his dungeon, and not only that, but to have been favoured 
with marvellous and consoling visions of Our Blessed Lord and His holy 
Mother. These latter transcendent spiritual favours are described as 
taking place when he had been placed in the “ Little Ease,” a narrow and 
harassing cell, where not only was it physically impossible to say Mass, 
but where the wretched occupant could scarcely even movel After many 
months of this torture, Mr Rowsham was transferred to the Marshalsea 
Prison. To do Elizabeth justice, she seems to have generally preferred 
banishment to death where “ Romish priests and Jesuits ” were con- 
cerned. It was the red hand of Burleigh that was the power behind the 
throne in matters of blood for conscience’ sake. But in the autumn of 
1585, the star of mercy was in the ascendant, and Mr Rowsham was sent 
into exile under pain of death if he returned. Already, as far back as 1 582, 
the subject of this notice had been described in a letter from Fr. John 
Hart to Dr Allen as one who was fully prepared to give his life, if needs 
be, for the propagation of the Catholic faith. The mysterious circle of 
stars of his Oxford days also seems to have made an indelible impression 
on Mr Rowsham’s mind that he was destined by God to glorify Him by 
means of supreme and crowning sacrifice. In February, 1 586 — the last and 
fateful year of the unhappy Queen of Scots — he was back in England, where 
he ministered to the Catholics of the Midlands. He was taken for the second 
time in Gloucester, in the house of a widow, named Mrs Strange, and at 
his trial at the ensuing Gloucester Assizes, freely confessed that he was a 
priest, and that he would gladly lay down many lives in the cause of re- 
storing persons to the true religion. • While in court he actually persuaded 
several 'prisoners awaiting trial for various civil offences, to be reconciled 
to the Church, and several of these who were subsequently acquitted 
afterwards lived as good Catholics. After receiving sentence of death, 
our indefatigable missioner was removed to the prison, where he found 
means to celebrate Mass on more than one occasion, and he was so en- 
gaged when the SheriS’s officers came to summon him to death. In 
-fact, they courteously waited till the holy sacrifice was over, before placing 
him in the hurdle. The good people of Gloucester seem to have been far 
in advance of the time in the matter of humanity, for when the Martyr 
was left hanging on the rope, they would not allow him to be cut down 
for the butchery of the disembowelling, till the hangman and his assistants 
were satisfied Aat the sufferer was already dead — z like act of kindness 
which they also showed in the case of the Ven. John Sandys, who suffered 
in the same city and in the same cause. The date of the Venerable Stephen 
Rowsham’s martyrdom is very uncertain, being placed by some writers 



78 VENERABLE NICHOLAS HORNER [Mar. 4 

as on loth May, 1587 ; by others on nth August, 1586 ; and again, 
according, to a local tradition, as occurring some time in Nlarch, I 5 ^ 7 j 
which latter time is the one adopted for the purpose of this notice. 


MARCH 4 

HORNER, THE VENERABLE NICHOLAS, MARTYR 

(?-i 59 o) 

When Nicholas Horner came to London from Grantley, Yorkshire, pre- 
sumably not long before the momentous year of the Armada, he did not 
confine himself solely to his trade of tailor. No doubt, in the lonely dales 
and moors of his native country, he had often befriended the missionary 
priests who wandered about among the Yorkshire squires and yeomen, 
saying Mass here and confessing there, and helping to make the hardy 
North what it was for so long — a stronghold of the ancient faith. But 
aiding and comforting seminary priests and Jesuits was a terribly risky 
thing in London, especially late in Elizabeth’s reign, where the Calvinistic 
Protestantism of the day was so firmly established and the look-out of 
pursuivants and priest-hunters so ceaseless and untiring. So it is not sur- 
prising to learn that in September, 1588, our valiant tailor was in durance 
vile — one of “ those that will not take the oathe mynistred in the Leets, nor 
the Quene’s parte againste the Pope’s armye ” {Cath, Record Socy., vol. ii, 
p. 283). This, of course, was the speculative question as to what the 
individual recusant would do in the event of an invasion to effect a re- 
storation of Catholicism. Nearly all the French Huguenots and Dutch 
Calvinists of the period would have been for the alien but “ godly ” army 
in their respective struggles with the papist foe, just as many of the 
harassed recusants were undoubtedly all for any power that would wrest 
the nation from the militant heresy that tortured and hanged the priests 
and fined and imprisoned the laity into beggary and ruin. Nicholas 
Horner’s chief trouble, as before stated,, was harbouring “ priests,” and he 
seems to have been regarded as a ” dangerous person,” for he was ironed, 
and ironed so heavily, that soon the rubbing and dragging of the rough 
and rusty manacles and fetters produced sores which in their turn caused 
dangerous wounds and finally gangrene on one of his legs. It was deemed 
necessary to amputate the limb — a fearful ordeal at all times in those un- 
anassthetic days, but one especially horrible when carried out in a common 
pnson by some (no doubt) not very experienced or tender barber-surgeon 1 
Even the tourniquet had not then been thought of 1 ^ But in his extremity, 

1 Tie invention of the tourniquet is attributed to M. More], a French surgeon, who, 
about 1674, used a cord tightened bj the twisting of a stick to compress arteries for the purpose 
of lessening bleeding and pain in L’mbs about to be removed. 



79 


Mar. 5] ST JOHN JOSEPH 

Horner was much assisted by “ a good priest, to wit, Mr Huit, who was 
afterwards a martyr, who did hold his head betwixt his hands whilst it was 
adoing.” The Bishop of Tarragona, in his history of the persecution in 
England, relates that during the operation the patient had a vision of 
Our Lord, which so filled him with rapture and delight, that he became 
quite unconscious of what was being done to him 1 The courage and 
patience of the afflicted man seem to have made a deep impression even 
on the officials, for shortly afterwards Horner was released. He was again 
arrested for assisting priests, the case this time being that of Christopher 
Bales,^ who, after enduring fearful rackings and other tortures, was hanged 
and quartered in Fetter Lane the same day as Horner suffered in Smith- 
field. Horner stood his trial for his statutory offence, the harbouring of 
seminary priests, and being convicted, and refusing to attend the Pro- 
testant services, received sentence of death. It is perhaps strange that one 
who had already suffered so much and with such fortitude, should now 
have felt himself overcome with fear, yet such was the case, but betaking 
himself to prayer in his dungeon, the condemned had a repetition of his 
heavenly experience, on this occasion, the apparition of a bright crown, 
which seemed to follow him wherever he went. The account of this extra- 
ordinary occurrence was later sent in a letter to Fr. R. Southwell, S.J., 
and it appears also in the Appendix Schismatis Anglicani of Fr. Ribadaneira, 
and the writings of some other contemporaries. The Venerable Nicholas 
Horner was executed pursuant to sentence, in Smithfield, on 4th March, 
1590, and as his conviction was for felony only, and not treason, he was 
merely hanged — an incident which ever since the advent of the House of 
Tudor and the resulting and but thinly disguised Oriental despotism, had 
become a very commonplace sight in tlie national life, and one scarcely 
worth the going to seel 


MARCH 5 

ST JOHN JOSEPH OF THE CROSS,- FRANCISCAN 

(1654-1739) 

He was born, 1654, on the Island of Ischia, Italy, of a family of noble 
descent, but from his earliest years almost, practised holy poverty to such 
an extent that, even as a child, he preferred to wear shabby clothes to those 
more suited to his station in life. Having acquired a good general classical 
education, he resolved at the age of sixteen to enter religion, choosing for 
this purpose the Franciscan Friars of the Alcantarine Reform at Nap es. 

Called also Bayles in Challoner’s Memoirs. 



8 o 


ST JOHN JOSEPH [Mar. 5 

The latter designation is, of course, derived from St Peter of Alcantara, 
who, in 1540, drew up the Constitutions of the Stricter Observance, 
which, after the usual opposition accorded most works undertaken for 
God and His Church, spread throughout Spain and Portugal, but was 
much slower in permeating elsewhere. In fact, St John Joseph of the 
Cross is said to have been the first Italian to join this reform, but he was a 
man entirely after St Peter of Alcantara’s heart. In addition to the usual 
austerities of the Order, he added severe bodily macerations, fasting every 
day, never drinking wine, frequently taking the discipline, and restricting 
his rest to three hours every night! It had been his wish from first entering 
the Order to remain a simple Brother, for, like the great founder, St 
Francis, he did not consider himself worthy of the sacerdotal dignity. 
It was only by the exercise of the authority of his superiors that he 
could be prevailed upon to proceed to the priesthood. His great per- 
sonal holiness and insight into the character and disposition of others, 
marked him out as a fit agent of Administrative work, and in 1 674, he was 
sent to open the Friary of Alfila in Piedmont. The new Guardian began his 
labours there by assisting the workmen in the construction of the building, 
and after his installation as Superior, he showed all his old love of humility 
by performing regularly the most menial ofiices. Meantime, the fame 
of his sanctity brought crowds of persons to the place, and much of our 
Saint’s time was occupied in preaching, giving retreats and hearing con- 
fessions. God attestated the worth of His servant by the gift of miracles, 
especially with regard to the sick. In all his dealings with souls, public 
and private, he never faded to inculcate on those who sought absolution 
or advice at his hands, one eminent method of perfection, and that was a 
tender devotion to Our Lady — ^the spiritual Mother of the great Christian 
Family. By this means, he secured the final perseverance of many penitents 
whose wavering characters w;ould have proved unequal in the face of temp- 
tation and the malign allurements of life. In 1702, the holy Guardian of 
Alfila was nominated Vicar-Provincial of the Alcantarine Reform in Italy, 
a post which, of course, greatly increased his influence for good, not only 
among the religious houses of his Order, but also the laity. He departed 
this life at the advanced age of eighty-five, 5th March, 1739, and fifty years 
later was beatified by Pius VI. As a pious youth and later as Founder of 
the Redemptorists, St Alphonsus Liguori had sought the counsel and 
holy consolation of the ^eat Franciscan, and it was in every way suitable 
that the illustrious morahst and Doctor of the Church and the shining light 
of the Seraphic Order, should have been canonized together, as they were 
on 26th May ,1839. The occasion was rendered still further memorable 
by the enrolment among the saints of three other conspicuous names for 
sanctity, those of St Veronica Giuliani, St Pacificus of San Severmo, and St 



8i 


Mar. 6] 


ST COLETTE 


Francis Gerommo. It may be also mentioned as a matter of further interest 
that It have been tins quadruple canonization by Gregory XVI that 
jnspired Thactay to write the famous passage which. !ftTr the ’wd - 
known lines m Macaulay's Essay on Yon Ranke, is perhaps the best apology 
y one outside her fold for the trutli and endurance of the Catholic Church.^ 

[Manning : Lives of the Saints and Blessed oj the Three Orders of 
St Francis. (London, 1886.).] 


MARCH 6 

ST COLETTE 
(1381-.?) 

The familiar name of the great reformer of the Poor Clares is said to be 
a short form of Nicoletta. The father of the Saint, Robert Boellet, was 
carpenter to the Benedictine Abbey of Corbie, Picardy, in which village 
Colette was born, 13th January, 1381. Her mother’s maiden name was 
Margaret Moyon. From about the period of her more advanced child- 
hood the religious life seems to have had a great attraction for this re- 
markable woman. Even when quite young she was noted for a spirit of 
prayer and a love of seclusion, while displaying a certain force of character 
inseparable from those called to play a leading part in the practical affairs 
of life. With her it seems to have been a matter of having to search long 
and painfully for the right vocation. She tried in succession the Bene- 
dictines, the Beguines, and the Poor Clares. Not finding in these several 
communities the rest of soul for which she longed, she left each in suc- 
cession, and for a time lived as a recluse. This form of solitary religious 
dedication was then drawing to the end of its long and saintly course, but 

^ “ There must be moments in Rome, especiall/ when everj man of friendly heart, who 
writes himself Engh’sh and Protestant, must feel a pang at thinking that he and his countrymen 
are insulated from European Christendom. ... Of the beautiful parts of the great Mother 
Church, I believe among us many people have no idea. . . . Lo ! yonder inscription which 
blazes round the dome of the temple, so great and glorious it looks, like Heaven almost, and if the 
words were written in stars it proclaims to all the world that this is Peter, and on this rock the 
Church shall be built against which Hell shall not prevail. Under the bronze canopy his throne 
is lit with lights that have been burning before it for ages. Round this stupendous chamber are 
ranged the grandees of his court. . . . Some of them were ahVe but yesterday, others to be as 
blessed as they walk the earth even now, doubtless, and the commissioners of Heaven holding 
here their court a hundred years hence, shall authoritatively announce their beatification. The 
signs of their power shall not be wanting. They heal the sick, open the eyes of the blind, cause 
the lame to walk to-day, as they did eighteen centuries ago. Thus you shall kiss the hand of a 
priest to-day who has given his to a friar, whose bones are already beginning to wor 
who has been the disciple of another whom the Church has just proclaimed a saint— hand-in- 
hand they hold by one another, dll the fine is lost up in Heaven.”— T/ie Newcomes. 

F 



82 


ST COLETTE 


[Mar. 6 

though separated from common life, it was no less carefully regulated by 
Church authority. The anchorite or anchoress had to be inducted into the 
cell, situated usually near the church, by the bishop or his delegate, 
and a proper maintenance had to be assured. The solitary s time was 
spent chiefly in prayer, labour and study, and it is interesting to remember 
that the Regula was mainly that laid down by Bishop Poore of Salisbury 
(d. 1327), in his famous “ Ancren Riewle.” Though Colette did not per- 
severe in this state much longer than in the others, she formed during this 
period of strict retirement those habits of settled devotion and principles 
of mature judgment which were to serve her in such stead in the work 
associated with her name. 

Ever since about the middle of the thirteenth century there had been 
a strong desire in several quarters for a return to the primitive rule as far 
as the Poor Clares were concerned. The great Order of Franciscan nuns 
under St Clare of Assisi, inaugurated by the Seraphic Founder himself at the 
Portiuncula in 1212, had originally followed the rule of St Benedict, joined 
to some observances of great severity, such as perpetual fasting and a 
(practically) constant silence. In 1224 St Francis gave his spiritual 
daughters a written rule, in which many of the austerities were consider- 
ably modified, and this Constitution was approved by Innocent IV in 1246. 
Gradually the Rule of St Francis received other modifications, and these 
were embodied in the rule drawn up by Cardinal Cajetan in 1264, and 
confirmed by Urban IV. Most of the Poor Clares followed the new 
and easier observance, but the houses in Spain and Italy followed, in the 
main, the old and more rigid Franciscan government. The great work 
of St Colette consisted in bringing back what may be called the religious 
mind and heart of the holy Founder with regard to the Franciscan nuns. 
She now approached the anti-Pope, Benedict XIII, and laid before him 
her views on this age-long subject. 

The Anti-Pope, Pedro de Luna, though often styled “ a crafty Spanish 
Cardinal,” was, in fact, a man of singular ability, and he is regarded by 
some Church historians of weight as having been the rightful occupant 
of the papal throne during this period of the deplorable schism.. He 
resided usually in Spain, at least latterly, and was recognized as Supreme 
Pontiff there, and also in France and Scotland.^ Anxious no doubt to exer- 

^ During the great Schism of the West, 1378-1414, “ the Church was tom, not into different 
sects, but into different obitliencesP All Cathoh’cs agreed that there must be a successor of 
St Peter to rule the Church on earth, but they did not agree as to which of the rival pontiSs 
had the best c l a im . Disastrous as were the effects of the Schism, the calamity had one good 
result, i.e. it proved that the faithful never lost their belief in the necessity of a visible head, 
and that the papacy as an institution could not be destroyed even by so violent an internal com- 
motion. Theologians, moreover, agree that during this period, the infallible authority of the 
Pope was suspended, and remained so till the Council of Constance restored peace to the Church. 



ST COLETTE 


-Mar. 6] 


83 


else his restricted papal powers to the utmost, he not only permitted Colette 
to enter the Poor Clares, but issued some Bulls empowering her to found 
convents and extend her plan of reform. Colette also obtained at this 
time much useful advice from her confessor, a Franciscan, named Father 
Henri de la Beaume, while the Countess of Geneva added assistance of a 
material kind. It was at Beaume, in Geneva, that the first house of the 
reformed, or primitive, rule of St Francis, was opened. A little later, she 
inaugurated at Besan9on another community, and from this time to 1444, 
houses of the “ Colcttine Poor Clares ” followed each other in regular, 
if not very rapid, succession at Auxonne, Poligny, Ghent, Heidelberg, 
Amiens, and other centres. This truly valiant woman also succeeded in 
restoring the rule of several Franciscan houses for men to the more primi- 
tive norm, but the “ reformation ” here did not justify itself as did that 
of the female branch, and it was suppressed by Leo X, in 1517, the year after 
the famous Concordat, which virtually handed over the temporal govern- 
ment and patronage of the Church of France to Francis I and his successors.^ 
Amidst all these arduous labours, which would have worn out even the 
strength of many a man, St Colette showed her invariably wonderful 
spirit of detachment and recollection. The austerities of the primitive 
rule, which she did so much to restore, were all fully practised by herself, 
notably in the matter of the severe fasting. She had, as have had all the 
Saints of God, her days, nay, her months, of acute trial, the dereliction of 
spirit, the seeming utter failure and the other “ crosses,” which try those 
who seek to achieve high and holy things. That she came triumphantly 
durough the long and wearisome ordeal, and was more than once favoured 
by spiritual consolations and manifestations, were all duly dwelt upon in 
the process that led up to her Beatification by Clement XII, 2.3rd January 
1740 — almost the last pontifical act of his reign. Her Canonization took 
place, 24th May, 1 807, when Pius VII was on the eve of that long struggle 
with the overmastering power of Napoleon, which culminated in the fall 
of the French Empire, and the restoration of the long-harassed pontiff to 
his full spiritual and temporal sovereignty. The first foundation of the 
Poor Clares in England was in 1293, when the house outside Aldgate was 
opened. Its name is still perpetuated in ^at of the “ Minories. When 
Henry VIII laid his despoiling hand on the monastic system of the realm, 
the Order had two other convents in this country, one at Bruisyard, in 
Suffolk, and the other at Denny, in Cambridgeshire. At present there are 


1 The details of the Concordat of 1516 were arranged chiefly between the I^pe and the 
Chancellor Duprat. The “ Pragmatic Sanction ” of 1438, restricting appeals to Rome to the 
greater causes, was abolished. The Kings of France received the privilege of nomination toaJJ 
bishoprics and abbevs in the Kingdom, the Pope, of course, reserving the nght of conferring 
the Pallium and Bulls of Consecration in the case of the archbishops and bishops respective 7. 



04 BLESSED JOHN LARKE [Mar. 7 

eleven houses of the Order in England, le., at Baddesley Clinton, War- 
wickshire (opened, 22nd August, 1850) ; Bayswater, London (13th June 
i860); Manchester (1863); present convent at Levenshulme (opened, 
1868); York (1865); Arundel (1886); Bullingham, Hereford (1880); 
Darlington, St Clare’s Abbey, (1857); Wavertree, Liverpool (1902); 

Woodford Green, Essex (1920); Sclerder Abbey, Cornwall ( Flint 

(1928). 

The famous convent of the English Poor Clares at Gravelines was 
established 1609, chiefly through the exertions of Mary Ward, aided by 
the Jesuit Fathers, the Bishop of St Omers and the considerable colony 
of Catholic exiles — notably the Gages — ^living in the place. Mary Gough 
was the first Abbess. The foundation flourished as a house of piety and 
prayer ^1 October, 1793, when it was seized by order of the revolutionary 
popular Assembly of Gravelines, and the Nuns — including the Benedictines 
and Poor Clares from Dunkirk — ^were declared prisoners under guard. 
In April, 1795, ^^7 permitted to cross over to England, and after 
sojourning at Catterick, Coxside, and Gosfield, Essex, unwisely it seems, 
returned to Gravelines in 1814. The day of Continental exile had 
passed, and the restored convent did not flourish. The numbers 
diminished, and the last Abbess (Madame Cullen) died January, 1838, 
and the last English professed Sister, Madame Latham, at home with her 
relations at Liverpool, in 1857. 

[Germain: Sainte Colette de Corbie, Paris, 1903. Cath. Record 
Socy., vol. xiv, “ The Religious Houses of the United 
Kingdom.”] 


MARCH 7 

LARKE, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(P-1544) 

If the expressive word, “ lark,” for fun in practice, which is said to be 
derived from the Anglo-Saxon, lac, meaning “ sport,” was in vogue in 
Henry VIH’s time, we can well imagine the Blessed Thomas More making 
many playful allusions to the cant word and the surname of his parish 
priest, the Rev. John Larke, sometime rector of Chelsea. However this 
may have been, there are not many details to record of the friend and 
fellow-martyr of the saintly Chancellor. Larke was apparently a doctor 
of divinity— Cresacre More calls him " Doctor Larke ” {Life of More), 
and in 1504 he became rectoi of St Ethelburga, Bishopsgate. In 1 526 he 
exchanged the former ” cure ” for the rectory of Woodford, Essex, which 
he held till 1530 (or 1531), when Sir Thomas More presented him with 



Mar. 7] BLESSED GERMAN OR GERMAINE GARDINER 85 

the living of Chelsea. This last appointment was not a royal benefice, 
but one originally belonging to the Abbots of Westminster, which Sir 
Thomas as Chancellor had the right to bestow by grant from the said 
Abbey of Westminster. It was the custom of More to serve his parish 
priest’s Mass daily, and this holy contact soon ripened into a close and 
binding friendship. The judicial murder of the Seneca of Christendom, 
as More was regarded, preyed much on the mind of his pastor, but it 
was not until nine years had elapsed that the Rev. John Larke was called 
upon to shed his blood in the same and most worthy cause. By “ words, 
writings and acts,” he is stated to have maintained the necessity of the 
primacy of the successor of St Peter over the universal Church, and so 
courageously took the consequences, together with the Blessed Germaine 
Gardiner and the Ven. John Ireland, priest. The holy trio suffered at 
Tyburn, 7th March, IS44- 


MARCH 7 

GARDINER, THE BLESSED GERMAN OR GERMAINE 

MARTYR 

(?-i545) 

It is thought that German Gardiner was cousin to the Stephen Gardiner, 
the famous Bishop of Winchester, and Chancellor, who suffered so much 
under Edward VI for his opposition to the fanaticism of the native and 
foreign reformers. The name German or Germaine is sometimes spelt 
also ” Jermyn.” Gardiner studied at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, and after 
leaving the University is reported to have become secretary to his kins- 
man and namesake of Winchester. He first came out in a public char- 
acter as the writer of a letter against John Frith, the heresiarch, who in 
1533 inveighed against the doctrines of transubstantiation and purgatory, 
for which denials he was ultimately (1533) burnt at Smithfield. It is 
noteworthy that this young and courageous ex-Etonian polemic was 
“ the first of the English [Protestant] martyrs who maintained the 
doctrine of the Sacrament which was subsequently adopted in the 
Book of Common Prayer ” (D/c. of Nat. Biog., vol. vii, under Frith). 
Gardiner’s “ Letter ” concerning ” the demeanour, and heresy of John 
Frith,” appeared after the fiery death of the latter, and in it our 
author severely attacked the dead . man for “setting abroad these 
heresies which lately sprung up in Almayne [Germany] by the help 
of such folk be spread abroad into sundry parts of Christendom tending 
to nothing else, but to the division, and rending asunder of Christ’s mystical 
body. His Church, the pulling down of all power and utter subversion 
of all commonwealths.” The religious and social effects of the rising re- 



86 BLESSED GERMAN OR GERMAINE GARDINER [Mar, 7 

formation were never so tersely or truly summed up, and prognosticated, 
only Henry VIII, his aiders and abetters, were not the men to read the 
writing on the wall ! Ten years later, when Henry inaugurated the plunder 
of the parish churches, so systematically continued under his son and 
successor, Edward VI, Cranmer, of course, lent his authority to the evil 
work of making away with holy shrines and images. The wide-spread 
indignation caused by this sacrilegious robbery which, needless to say, 
was for the private profit of the rapacious King and the greedy harpies 
of the Court — gave rise to an outcry against the Archbishop, and the articles 
of impeachment against him were drawn up or copied by the subject of 
this notice. As the vandalic plundering was a Court measure, nothing 
came of the much-talked-of prosecution, which appears to have been a 
mere subterfuge to divert public attention from a horrible scandal, and 
to stop the rising tide of general and angry opinion. The pass to which 
Henry’s Church policy had brought the country, however, seems to have 
opened Glardiner’s eyes. He had long reflected on the heroic constancy 
of the Carthusians of the Charter House, the saintly Bishop of Rochester, 
Cardinal Fisher, Sir Thomas More, and the other heroic witnesses who 
had died in protest against the separation of this nation from the rock of 
St Peter, and the consequent abandonment of the Church and people 
to the storms and waves of constantly varying heresy and misbelief. Mr 
Gardiner’s sentiments becoming known, he was called upon to subscribe 
the Oath of Supremacy, and refusing, was indicted together with the Rev. 
John Larke, (^.*0.), John Ireland and John Heywood, at the Sessions 
House, Westminster, 15th February, 1545. The lengthy indictment 
among other things charged the accused with, “ choosing, wishing and 
desiring, and cunningly machinating to deprive our said King, Henry 
VIII of his royal dignity, tide and state, that is to say, of his dignity, title 
and name of supreme Head of the English and Irish Church.” All received 
sentence of death and died courageously for the keystone of Church 
government at Tyburn, on 7th March following, except John Heywood, 
who recanted and was reprieved, a fact which proves that the rest of the 
martyrs might have purchased their lives by a like denial.^ 

^ The John Heywood mentioned above was the famous wit and musician, who amused 
the English Court from the days of Henry VIII to that of Elizabeth. In spite of his taking 
the Oath of Supremacy and so saving his life, he had no sympathy with Protestantism, and gladly 
welcomed the accession of Mary (1553), whom he addressed in a “ Ladne oration.” Disliking 
the reh’gious changes under Elizabeth, he retired to Malines, where he died about 1 580, at a 
veiy advanced age. Heywood’s wit and humour were alwaj-s refined, a remarkable trait, indeed, 
in that age of coarse mirth ! His best-known piece, “ The Four P’s,” a Pothecary, Palmer, 
Pardoner and Pedlar,” is a satire on some ecclesiastical abuses, a sort of prose “ Piers Plowman ” 
m hghter vein. His son. Father Jasper Heywood, the learned Jesuit and author, died at Naples 
1598. ’ 



Mar. 153 ST CLEMENT MARY HOFBAUER 


87 


MARCH 7 

IRELAND, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 
(.^-1544). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. ■ 

Learned researches, published in the Downside Review for 1913, and 
by the late Fr. John Pollen, S.J. (" The Venerable Martyrs of England ”) 
inform us that the fellow-sufferer with the Rev. John Larke and German 
Gardiner was, like the former, sometime Chaplain to Sir Thomas More, 
and later Chaplain of the Roper Chantry at St Dunstan, Canterbury. 
He also held the post of Chaplain to William Roper, son-in-law of the 
martyred Chancellor. The Roper family lived at Eltham, Kent, and 
Ireland is sometimes referred to as Vicar of the parish. As recorded 
previously, the Rev. John Ireland was condemned to death at West- 
minster, February, 1544, for refusing to acknowledge the Supremacy of 
Henry VIII in matters of religion, and martyred with his two companions 
at Tyburn, on 7th March following. 


MARCH 15 

HOFBAUER, ST CLEMENT MARY, CONFESSOR 

(1751-1820) 

The German dramatist, Werner, who, after being thrice married and 
thrice divorced ! became a Catholic and died a priest at Vienna (1823),* used 
to say that he only knew of “ three men of superhuman energy — ^Napoleon, 
Goethe, and Clement Hofbauer.” The last of the trio so honoured by this 
judgment, and who was, under God, to do so much for the revival of 
religion in Germany and Austria, was born at Tasswitz, in Moravia, 26th 
December, 1751. The family, which was of Bohemian origin, apparently, 
was named Dvorak, which later became Germanized into Hofbauer. The 
father of the future Saint, as in the case of Cardinal Wolsey, was a butcher 
and grazier, but he died when Clement Mary was but six years of age, 
leaving a wife and twelve children. In consequence, the family was but 
ill-provided for, and at a very early age, Clement was apprenticed to a 
baker, but being of a decidedly studious turn, he, like so many other 
geniuses in similar uncongenial circumstances, devoted all his spare time 
to serious reading, acquiring a working knowledge of Latin and, of course, 
Christian doctrine. In 1771 he left the bakery, and became a servant 
in the Premonstratensian Monastery at Bruck, where for four years he had 

> Chamber!' s Biographical Dictionary, 1907. 



88 


ST CLEMENT MARY HOFBAUER [Mar. 15 

greater facilities for study in the graminar school of the FatherSj whilCj 
needless to say, faithfully performing all the duties that fell to his charge. 
Though the period was material, irreligious, and generally coldly sceptical, 
to a degree that has won for it the name of the “ age of philosophic doubt, 
the spirit of self-mortification, notwithstanding Carlyle’s caustic comment 
on the epoch — “soul dead, stomach much alive I ” — ^was not entirely 
extinct. The century had already produced St Benedict, Joseph Labre, 
among other eremitical or semi-eremitical servants of God. In I 774 
1775 Clement Mary left the monastery and lived for a while as a hermit 
at Mlihlfrauen, not far from his own home. Here he did much good by 
giving holy counsel to the pilgrims who came to visit the church of the 
place dedicated to Our Lord scourged at the pillar, but Clement’s peace 
was not for long. The secularmng mania of Joseph II — “ my Brother 
the Sacristan ” — as Frederick the Great termed the intermeddling Em- ^ 
peror — was then at its height, and the policy of suppressing monasteries 
and convents, and generally furthering the progress of infidel “ enlighten- 
ment,” affected even the humble recluse of Muhlfrauen. Hermitages 
were “ put down ” with the rest, and Clement perforce returned to his 
baker’s trade, this time at Vienna, in a house known as “ the Iron Pear,” 
near the Ursuline Convent, the latter destined in later years to be the 
scene of some of his most fruitful labours. Between 1778 and 1784, 
Clement made three pilgrimages to Rome, going there much after the 
manner of Oliver Goldsmith, nearly thirty years before, i.e.y on foo^ and 
relying on casual assistance for support. After the second journey he and 
his companion, Peter Kunzmann, lived for a while as hermits near the 
church of Our Lady of Quintiliolo at Tivoli, receiving the habit from the 
Bishop, Mgr. Barnabo Chiaramonti, later to be illustrious as Pope Pius 
VII. But holy seclusion amidst the ancient ruins and vineyards of the 
classic Roman Tusculum, was not our Saint’s call. By 1783 he was 
back in Vienna, where the generosity of three old maiden ladies, named 
Maul, enabled him to enter the university with a view to preparing for 
the priesthood. All the academies and seminaries in the Empire had 
then been secularized, and were full of the “ crank ” theories which 
Joseph II and his abetters loved so well. Clement’s stay here is chiefly 
remarkable for an outspoken rebuke he administered to one of the pro- 
fessors for his un-Catholic attitude — a. warning happily taken in good 
part, and ending by the conversion of the lecturer. 

In 1784 Clement was again in Rome, where he and his friend, 
Thaddeus Hiibl, were received into the Redemptorist Novitiate, St 
Guiliano on the Esquiline. Clement’s fervour and that of his friend in 
prayer, obedience and study, was such that even before they were ordained 
priests, St Alphonsus, the Founder of the Congregation, said of them: 



Mar. 15] ST CLEMENT MARY HOFBAUER 89 

" God will not fail to promote His glory by their means. Their mission, 
however, will be different from ours. In the midst of the Lutherans and 
Calvinists in which they will be placed, the Catechism will be more 
necessary than preaching. These two priests will do a great work, but 
they will have need of greater light." 

The novitiate of the first German aspirants to the Redemptorist 
foundation was considerably shortened, in view of their age and fervour. 
They were professed, 19th March, 1785, and at Alatri, ten days later, 
were ordained priests. Religious orders being then, generally, under the 
ban, in the Austrian dominions. Fathers Clement and Thaddeus, after 
vainly endeavouring to make a commencement of the Congregation in 
Vienna, came to Warsaw, February, 1787, receiving from the Nuncio 
there the Church of St Benno (Bishop of Meissen, 1 106), as their cure. 
The religious condition of Poland, and especially Warsaw, was — thanks 
mainly to “ Philosophism ” — on a par with that of most countries of Europe 
at that time. Scepticism and immorality were fearfully rife, parishes were 
neglected, and some even of the clergy were freemasons I During the 
twenty-one years of St Clement’s Apostolate in Warsaw, enormous good 
was effected. The church was beautified and enlarged; religious sodal- 
ities and schools established; sermons and discourses on Christian doctrine 
and morality multiplied and Catholic literature disseminated. In October, 
1801, he could write to the Superior-General: “ The fame of our instruc- 
tions, preachings and catechizing, has reached even to Moscow, and 
throughout Russia, even to Siberia. The fruits of this are incalculable. 
Not only the people of the town, but from all parts of the country, and 
even from distant provinces, persons come for five, six, or eight days, 
hear the word of God, receive the sacraments and go back to their homes 
strengthened and comforted by God’s grace.’’ 

The “ our ’’ in this remarkable statement refers, of course, to the, 
by then, large and flourishing Congregation of Redemptorist Fathers and 
Brothers — ^Polish, Frehch and German — that had been formed meantime 
at St Benno’s, and their joint labours and the results. The Nuncio at 
Warsaw had already described the House of the Fathers as a centre of 
“ wonderful success in preaching and in the administration of the Sacra- 
ments,’’ and as attracting an “ extraordinary influx of people.’’l In addition 
to his almost ceaseless activity for souls at Warsaw, Fr. Clement found 
time to open houses of the Redemptorists at Constance on a property, 

^ The Nuncio was Lorenzo Marquis Litta of Milan, titular Archbishop of Thebes. ^ He 
was created a Cardinal by Pius VII (i8oi), and later became Prefect of Propaganda and Cardinal. 
Vicar. He had also filled the post of Papal Ambassador at the Coronation of the Czar, Paul I. 
Cardinal Litta corresponded frequently with St Clement Hofbauer, but the letters have un 
fortunately disappeared since their deaths, both of which occurred in 1 820. 



90 


ST CLEMENT MARY HOFBAUER [Mar. 15 

known as “ Mount Tabor ” (1802), and another at Treberg, which latter 
foundation, however, was soon suppressed by the non-Catholic Gfovern- 
ment, at the instigation of the worldly Vicar-General of the diocese, the 
Rev. Baron Von Wessenburg and a number of local do-nothing clergy, 
who horrihUe dictul jealous of the zeal and success of the Redemptorist 
Fathers, denounced them as a band of “ ill-judged fanatics 1 ” The years 
1805-8, were in truth a period of acute trial for St Clement and his 
brethren. Poland was by now the Grand Duchy of Warsaw, and entirely 
under the domination of Napoleon. Unfortunately, wherever the French 
army penetrated, irreligion and profligacy seemed to follow as a matter 
of course, for the very recent Concordat, needless to say, had not exorcised 
the godless spirit of the Revolution, or been able to undo in a day the 
awful moral and social devastation caused by the Jacobin propaganda. In- 
telligent travellers in France, like Henry Redhead Yorke, were painfully 
impressed by the unmistakable signs of decadence to be seen everywhere, 
even ten years after the Terror — ^whole tracts of country out of cultivation, 
colleges and schools destroyed, the peasantry and working classes, generally, 
unemployed, and hordes of vicious young persons of both sexes roaming 
about in utter ignorance and often in utter destitution.^ All the evil fruit 
of the much vaunted “ epoch of liberty! ” appeared to be reproduced in 
the imperial armies long recruited as they were from the very classes most 
demoralized by the recent colossal upheaval.^ 

A rebuke that one of the priests had to give to a French officer for 
flagrantly scandalous conduct in church, led to a collision with the 
authorities, and King Frederick Augustus of Saxony and Prince of Warsaw 
— a vassal-potentate of Napoleon’s “ Confederation of the Rhine,” ordered 
St Benno’s to be closed and the Fathers sent into exile. So great was the 
indignation of the people, that it required all the efforts of Marshal Davoust 
and the large French garrison to prevent something worse taking place than 
a vigorous public protest. After a month’s detention at Custrin, where they 
were most kindly received by the Protestant population — ^for all Germany, 

^ See Intxoductioa to France in Eighteen Hundred and Two, Described in a Series of Con- 
temporary Letters f By Henr7 Redhead Yorke, edited and revised by J. A. C. Sykes. (London : 
William Heinemann, 1906.) 

* Of course, there were notable ezceptions in this as in other matters. As the Empire ran 
its course of meteoric victories and blood-stained glories, a better class of recruits — largely in- 
structed in the village schools established after the Concordat by the local Cur&, Christian 
Brothers, etc. — replaced the old infidel Republican element. The excellent army chaplains also 
helped on the work of betterment. Many of the higher officers, too, were at least practising 
Catholics, while some, as General Dmot — the most virtuous man I have ever met,” as Napoleon 
once said of him — and Marshal Ney, were decidedly religious-minded. Ney at his execution 
(and December 1815) told the Cure of St Sulpice, who attended him, that he had rarely 
omitted his prayers, night and morning, or gone into action— five hundred of them— —without 
first commending his soul to God ! See Thiers, History of the Consulate and Empire. 



Mar. 15] ST CLEMENT MARY HOFBAUER 


prostrated by Austerlitz and Jena, was now glowering with rage against 
the French invaders — the exiled religious went on to various destinations. 
Fr. Clement and a young ecclesiastic, named Martin Stark, going to 
Vienna. From that time, 1808, till his death in 1820, Fr. Clement was 
to display in the imperial capital all the heroic virtues and untiring labours 
that had hitherto characterized him, and to even a far greater extent. As 
Rector of the Italian Church, then as Chaplain to the Ursuline nuns and 
Rector of their Church, he carried on the work of prayer, preaching and 
direction which has given him the title of “ the Apostle of Vienna.” 
During the greater part of this period the life-and-death struggle with 
Napoleon threatened the very existence of Austria, yet the voice of the 
Apostle was heard even above the reverberating thunder of the guns! 
Catholicity, half-strangled by ” Josephism," and grievously distracted 
and hampered by war and revolution, not only revived, but began to flourish 
in Austria. The zeal of the wonderful Redemptorist spread to the rest of the 
clergy, and everywhere was to be seen the renaissance of the Faith. The 
fame of St Clement’s preaching was such that during the Congress of Vienna 
(18 14-1 even the sophisticated and, no doubt, blas^ diplomats, who 
deliberated wisely all day and danced indefatigably all night, made a point 
of attending the sermons in question regularly every Sunday. 

Cardinal Consalvi, ” the Siren of Rome,” who represented Pius VII 
at the Congress, frequently consulted St Clement on matters of the highest 
importance, while Cardinal Severoli, the Nuncio, often asked his advice, 
as did Richelieu that of St Vincent de Paul two centuries before, on the 


subject of episcopal promotion. St Clement’s apostolate was equally shown 
■in his solicitude for the poor, and for the conversion of Jews and non- 
Catholics, while he powerfully influenced the trend of thought of the great 
Catholic apologist and critic, Frederick von Schlegel. His weekly 
” Conversations ” with an ever-increasing circle of young students, uni- 
versity lecturers, professional and business men, were the means or training 
a solid phalanx of Catholic youth and devout laymen destined to be of 
great use and support to the Church in after years. Though a final effort 
was made by some enemies of the Redemptorists about 1819 to have the 
Congregation suppressed in Austria, the affair came to nothing, and the 
last year of St Clement’s life was passed in peace. On the fourth of March, 
1820, while hearing the confessions of several persons, he was taken 
rather seriously ill, and next day preached for the last time, the topic 
being the -strict account we all must give to God of our lives and actions. 
He was able to sing the Requiem Mass on the ninth, for the rmc^ 
Jablonowski, but was so prostrated at the conclusion, that he had to be 
removed to bed. He passed from this world he bad done 
sanctify, on 15th March; 1820, just after hearing the Ange us e g, 



BLESSED WILLIAM HART 


92 


[Mar. 15 


and having joined in the prayers to Her through whose intercession he 
had effected so much lasting good, and to such a countless number of 
souls! His venerated remains were interred on the seventeenth in the 
cemetery of Sta Maria von Enzersdorf, distant about three hours from 
Vienna, in the tomb prepared by his great friend, Baron von Penkler. 
Though no general notice had been given of the Requiem, vast crowds of 
nobles, scholars, soldiers, professional and business people, attended the 
obsequies, all anxious to testify the intense veneration they felt for one 
whose whole life had been one long and heroic series of spiritual labours, 
like those of St Francis Xavier or even of St Paul! The (practical) restorer 
of the Austrian Church, and the Apostle of Vienna, was beatified by Leo 
XIII, 29th January, 1889, and canonized by Pius X, 20th May, 1909. 


{Lije, by Fr. R. P. Michael Haringer, Consulter-General of the 
Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. Translated into 
English by Lady Herbert of Lea. (Fr. Pustet & Co., New 
York and Cincinnati.).] 


MARCH 15 

HART, THE BLESSED WILLIAM, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(?-i583) 

When Richard Flemmyng, Bishop of Lincoln, started Lincoln College, 
Oxford, on its scholastic career in 1427, the- venture was a sort of academic 
reparation for having once given his support to “ the pernicious doctrines ” 
of Wycliffe! Moreover, he specially pro\aded that any Fellow who shall 
favour the same was “ to be cast out like a diseased sheep from the fold of 
the said College.’’^ This orthodox setting long marked Lincoln and its 
men. Even after the accession of Elizabeth — ^when the Act of Supremacy 
had been strictly enforced, many Fellows and students, expelled for -re- 
fusing the same, and a number of Zwinglian divines again brought back 
from Zurich, Strassburg, and other centres of militant Protestantism to 
reinforce the new opinions — Lincoln College still clung to the Catholic 
tradition, at least in secret. In 1571 a young student from the beautiful 
Cathedral City of Wells, entered the place, and three years later pro- 
ceeded B.A. This was William Hart, distinguished alike for his talents 
and happy disposition. The Rector of the College at that time was the 
famous Dr John Bridgewater, Aquapontantis, as he Latinized it, in accord- 
ance with the “ Ciceronianism ” of the day. After eleven years of rule at 
Lincoln, during which time he did all he could secretly to preserve and 

^ Hon. G. C. Brodrick : A Histery of the Unvuersity of Oxford. (Longmans, Green & Co.) 


Mar. 15] BLESSED WILLIAM HART 93 

foster the waning Catholicity of the University, he resigned and went to 
Douay with “ certain young scholars,” and also, as Anthony Wood adds, 
some of the goods of the College ” ! These latter may have been " church 
stuff,” reliquaries and the like, which would have fared badly at the hands 
of the bitter Puritan faction then dominant at Oxford, as elsewhere, in the 
country. Dr Bridgewater lived much after this at Treves, where he became 
the part author of the valuable Concertath Ecclesia Cathollca in Anglia 
a great authority on the domestic religious troubles of the time. 

Among the ” young scholars ” who followed the example or counsel 
of their Principal, was William Hart. He not only entered Douay College, 
where he promptly gained the affection of all by his modesty, patience, and 
remarkable devotion, but he soon came to be regarded as a student of 
extraordinary promise. Conscience and exile, however, were not the only 
sources of his troubles. The eighteenth centuiy' had not yet come upon 
the world with its lethargic habits and monstrous guzzling and general self- 
indulgence. But humanity knew well enough the torture of ‘‘ stone and 
gravel,” and among its victims was Mr Hart. Under advice, he left 
Douay to take the waters at Spa, but deriving little benefit from the 
Springs, submitted later to an operation at Namur. Within a century 
and a half, surgeons, such as Cheselden, were to accomplish the feat of 
cutting for the stone “in less than a very few minutes,”^ but in 1577, 
things were very different. Mr Hart, however, went through the doubt- 
less fearful ordeal, so absorbed in prayer that he did not appear to feel the 
knife^ and shortly afterwards was perfectly cured. Next year, Dr Allen 
sent him to Rome, where, as at Douay, he won golden opinions, and was 
distinguished by his oratorical powers, a discourse he gave in the presence 
of Cardinal Buoncompagno, the Protector of the College, being especially 
commended. After his ordination in March, 1581, he left Rome for the 
English College, then temporarily sojourning at Rheims. The Pope, 
Gregory XIII, accorded Mr Hart and the other priests who were leaving 
with him, a private audience, after which Mr Hart made a set speech, in 
which he thanked the Pope for having “ opened up and cleared of its 
obstacles, the way of return to the faith and practice of our' ancestral 
religion, for all who are- willing to enter upon it and to walk therein. 
Following a short stay at Rheims, Mr Hart, with Mr Harrison and Mr 
Proberts, came upon the-English Mission. The field of his pastoral exer- 
tions was Yorkshire, where he devoted himself so zealously, not only to 
the Catholics of the moors and dales, but to the crowds of recusants in 
the prisons for the faith, that he was soon known as the Apostle of York- 
shire.” But like all the other missionary priests, then and long afterwards 

» On one occasion the great surgeon. Wm. Cheselden (1688-1752), actual!/ removed the 
stone from a patient in fifiy-four seconds ! 



94 


BLESSED WILLIAM HART 


[Mar. 15 


in England, this indefatigable labourer carried his life in his hands, and 
it was not to be expected that so active a priest could escape. An apostate 
gave information to the Earl of Huntingdon, a great enemy of “ the 
papistical! sort,” and our missioner was taken prisoner in his sleep in a 
house at York, provided for the entertainment of the pastores peregrini of 
the faith by a devout lady, believed to have been the martyr, Margaret 
Clitherow. Mr Hart soon found himself among the many recusants in 
durance in York Castle. The Blessed William Lacy had recently escaped 
from the place by letting himself down from the wall, so for greater 
security, the new arrival was doubly ironed and thrust into an under- 
ground dungeon. His captivity was diversified by a disputation, or 
rather series of disputations, on the current points of controversy, with 
the Dean of York, and at least several other ministers. The polemical 
contest commenced through the Dean denying that such doctrines as the 
Real Presence, Prayers for the Dead, Intercession of Saints, etc., could 
be proved from the works of St Augustine — a very unfortunate Father 
to cite for such a purpose, for the writings of this great Doctor of the 
Western Church literally overflow with arguments for the Catholic con- 
tention on these and other beliefs and practices disputed by the reformers.^ 
This discussion, as usually happens, wandered ofi^ into a whole population 
of Fathers — St Ambrose, St Chrysostom, St Jerome, and the rest. By the 
time it had almost run its course, the Lent Assizes were at hand, where 
Mr Hart was indicted on the charge of high treason, first for having brought 
into the realm certain writings of the See of Rome, and, secondly, for 
having said Mass, heard confessions and reconciled numbers to the Faith. 
In the very able defence which he put forth, the accused stressed the facts 
that he had brought no writings from Rome, save his letters of ordination, 
and that the obedience which he had taught as due to the Roman Pontiff, 
not only detracted nothing from the allegiance owing to the secular prince, 
but rather confirmed and increased it.” The speech of the prisoner 
greatly nonplussed the court, which had to rely on the statute of Henry 


For the real and substantial presence of Onr Lord in the H0I7 Eucharist, see, for instance, 
fat Augustine, Be Consectariu, chapter 41 : “We faithfull7 confess that before Consecration, it 

IS br^d and wme, the product of nature, but after Consecration the bod7 and blood of Christ 
which the blessing consecrated.” 

St Augustine and Pra7ers for the Dead :* “ The pra7ers of the Church and of some good 
persons, are card in favour of those Christians who departed this life not so bad as to be deemed 
^worth7 of nierc7, nor so good as to be entitled to immediate happiness {The Cily of God, 
, apter 24). Dr Johnson evidentl7 tin's passage in mind, when he defended 

BosweU’s objection. (See BosweU’s Life of Johnson, 
invnVp tVipir .Vt after asserting that Saints, b7 their pra7ers to God, assist those who 

nf His \ •^^Bmght7 eveiTwhere present, hearing the supplications 

IS S^t th. requited 

Lura fro mortals gerenda,^\a.s^X,tx iG). ° a i v 



Mar. 15] BLESSED WILLIAM HART 93 

VIII, attaching the penalty of treason to any one who should leave the 
Kingdom without the royal consent and ask or receive assistance from the 
Pope. Mr Hart, with his usual ability, dealt with this objection too, so 
that the presiding judge, who seems to have been a very judicial-minded 
lawj'er, frankly remarked: “ Hart, I acknowledge that your intention was 
by no means evil, and I even admit that your desire to acquire learning 
and virtue was a laudable one; but as you know, in the time of Henry VIII, 
it was decreed that if any one should leave the realm without his Sovereign’s 
permission, he should be accounted guilty of treason.” This declaration 
of the state of the law on the subject was, of course, accepted by the jury, 
but the verdict of guilty, which at once followed his Lordship’s charge, 
caused deep murmurings of dissatisfaction in court. The NorA, with its 
considerable Catholic population at that time, and remoteness from the 
immediate power of the Government, was always far less inclined to 
acquiesce in Court verdicts and proceedings for religion than the more 
Protestant, and by now, well-drilled South. The six days that passed 
between sentence of death and execution, were chiefly spent by Mr Hart 
in devotion and writing letters of exhortation to his friends, and the Catholics 
of the district, generally, urging them “ to stand in that faith which Christ 
planted, the Apostles preached, the martyrs confirmed, the whole world 
approved and embraced ; stand firm in that faith which, as it is the oldest, 
is also the truest and most sure, and which is in most harmony with the 
holy scriptures and all antiquity.” The good people of York who had 
murmured against the sentence as unjust, showed their appreciation of the 
martyr by thronging round the gallows on the day of the execution (15th 
March, 1583), and refusing to allow the hideous butchery of the quartering, 
etc., to take place till after the death by hanging had supervened. This 
was all the more remarkable, as orders had been given that no one was to 
approach within forty feet of the condemned and the executioners, but 
the crowd broke through all barriers, and not only prevented the more 
horrible parts of the sentence from being carried out, as described, but 
also bore away many relics of the holy man, such as pieces of his clothing, 
and even portions of his body and blood! These precious souvenirs have 
unfortunately long since been lost, but the profound impression caused 
by his death in Rome, Rheims, and on the Continent generally, at the time, 
has come down to his spiritual descendants as a cherished legacy of holiness, 
zeal, and constancy. 

[Challoner: Memoirs, Burton and Pollen : Eng. Martyrs. Lingard: 

Histoty of Eng., vol. vi.] 



96 


BLESSED LOUISE DE MARILLAC [Mar. 15 


MARCH 15 

MARILLAC, THE BLESSED LOUISE DE, FOUNDRESS OF 
THE SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ST VINCENT OF PAUL 

(1591-1660) 

Just as it is almost impossible to think of Adam Smith without recalling 
the Wealth of Nations, or of George Stephenson, and not at once 
picturing the railway-engine, so the name of Louise de Marillac remains 
for ever associated with the Grey Sisters, those “ Angels of Mercy,” who 
ever since their formal establishment in 1633, have given to solid works 
of corporeal mercy a touch of the dramatic in the fever-stricken wards of 
hospitals, by the lowly couches of the abandoned poor, and the camp-beds 
of field-ambulances under the liirid light of the gun-fire. Louise de 
Marillac may be said to have prepared herself for her epoch-making work 
from her earliest years. Her father, Louis de Marillac, Seigneur de 
Ferrieres, belonged to a family that first became known during the Hundred 
Years’ War. By the sixteenth century its members were prominent in 
the official world of Paris, one, Charles, being Bishop of Vannes, and 
another, Guillaume, Comptroller-General of Finance. Michael de Marillac, 
a younger brother of Louis, father of our Foundress, was sometime Chan- 
cellor of France under Louis XIII. When Louise, who was born 12th 
August, 1591, was three years old, she lost her mother. Marguerite (Camus), 
and as her father married again, she was sent shortly afterwards to be 
brought up at the Dominican Convent of St Denis, at Poissy. The educa- 
tion here was the usual learned one of the age, including Latin and Greek, 
Homer being read by the young ladies in the original. Later on, Louise 
left the convent, and studied at home und,er her father, who was a scholarly 
man of the type of Montaigne, though happily without the easy morality 
that mars so much of the sentiments and speculations of that great but 
eccentric genius. Louise was still immersed in her reading, when her 
father died (1607). The natural devotion of her childhood, which had 
developed into a deep and earnest piety, combined with a true appreciation 
of the passing things of time, now made known her wish to enter the cloister 
as a nun among the “ Daughters of the Passion.” This Order, also known 
as “ Capuchinesses,” was founded in 1538 by the Yen. Maria Longo, 
who adopted for the purpose the primitive or strict rule of St Clare. The 
ringing of a bell at midnight in some places to remind the wakeful of 
praying for the holy souls, is said to have originated with this foundation. 
Pere H. de Champagny, the Confessor of the would-be novice, however, 
advised her to choose the married state, and in February, 1613, she became 



Mar. 15 ] BLESSED LOUISE DE MARILLAC 97 

the wife of Monsieur Antoine Le Gras, secretary to Marie de Medici, the 
widowed Queen of Henri Quatre. Louise proved herself an excellent 
wife and mother. Well read herself, she paid special attention to the 
education of her little son, Michael-Antoine, proving that in this, as in 
so much else, she was a true imitator of Queen Blanche, to whose fostering 
care no small part of the holiness of St Louis IX of France was due. More- 
over, the phases and general experience of domestic and family life gave 
the future Foundress of the great Order of Charity an insight into the con- 
ditions and needs of corporeal suffering which, humanly speaking, the 
secluded routine of the cloister could not have afforded. She was untiring 
in works of charity, and this happy side of her great character was power- 
fully developed by the holy friendship and wise advice of St Francis of 
Sales and the saintly Bishop of Belley, Mgr Le Camus. Her husband, 
after a long and painful illness, died a holy death on 21st December, 1625, 
and his widow — now by a curious contemporary usage styled “ Mdllc 
Le Gras! — ^resolved not to remarry, but to devote the remainder of her 
life to works of Catholic beneficence. The horrifying “ religious ” wars 
of the preceding century had brought in their train a whole host of appalling 
evils. Towns which had enormously increased in size, owing to the long 
insecurity of country life, were in many districts hotbeds of vice and 
notorious for cynical unbelief. Devil-worship was secretly rife in Paris 
in addition to the open scandals and immoralities which had, indeed, almost 
ceased to attract attention. The feuds and enmities engendered by the 
long Huguenot'' strife had also given a terrible impetus to duelling, 
so that in the course of eighteen years no less than four thousand noble- 
men and gentlemen are said to to have lost their lives in these misnamed 
“ affairs of honour.” ^ Joined to this shocking condition of things was the 
perhaps even more reprehensible decadence of the clergy. Many of 
these were mere courtly Abb^s, thinking of little, apparently, but idle, 
and often sinful, amusements and the rich preferments that family in- 
fluence might produce. Numbers of the parish priests neglected their 
flocks, allowed the churches to fall into decay, and seemed in many in- 
stances to have almost forgotten what their sacred calling meant] But 
happily the era of real reform was about to begin. The iron hand of 
Richelieu checked for a whole epoch the blood-stained madness of the 
duello.® The writings of St Francis de Sales, sweet and fragrant with all 

‘ Tie title Madame was at that time almost exclusive]/ reserved for wives of the nobility. 

’ Georges Duruy, HUtoire Populaire de la France. (Paris : Hachette.) For the depraved 
condition of Paris at this time, see Edward Heal/ Thompson’s Life sf M. Olier, especial]/ 
chapter I. (London: Burns & Lambert, i86i.) 

» The severe edict of Louis XIII against duelling — dictated, of course, by the Cardinal- 
appeared in 1626, and next year, two notorious duellists, the Count de Boutteville, of the ancient 
family of de Montmorency, and his adversary, both of whom, out of bravado, had fought each 

O 



98 BLESSED LOUISE DE MARILLAC [Mar- 

the flowers of devotion, were being widely read and acted upon. St 
Vincent of Paul’s holy example and tireless exhortations and epistles were 
stirring the whole hierarchy “ to walk worthy of the vocation in which 
you are called.” {Efhes.^ iv. i). Monsieur Olier was about to inaugurate 
the famous seminary and “ Sulpician Method ” that were to make the 
Clergy of France the model to their brethren throughout the world. The 
golden age of the illustrious Church of Charlmagne and St Louis, Bossuet 
and F^n^on was about to dawn. In this happy amelioration the subject 
of this notice was to play, what may be termed, a mighty part. 

Shortly after the commencement of her widowhood, Madame, or as 
we must call her by the then usage, Mdlle Le Gras, offered herself as a 
helper in his good works to St Vincent of Paul. It was the meeting of two 
kindred spirits, and realizing with joy her love for the sick and the poor 
generally, “ Monsieur Vincent,” as the future Saint was popularly called, 
prudently and gradually associated her in various of his pious under- 
takings, notably the “ Confr^rie de la Charitd,” a society of devout ladies 
of rank and young women, the latter chiefly from the country, who 
dedicated themselves to the manifold works of active charity demanded 
by the conditions of city poverty, sickness, and sin. The Society met 
every Sunday for a religious discourse and to receive practical advice from 
St Vincent, and so widely did the confraternity spread, that in November, 
1633, Louise de Marillac (or Le Gras) began to give systematic instruction 
to the members in nursing and all matters relating to the sick and distressed 
generally. This is regarded as the real beginning of the “ Sisters of 
Charity ” — ^which work, like “ a snowball,” as St Vincent used playfully 
to term the sisterhood, soon grew to great size. For about a dozen years, 
St Vincent and Louise de Marillac continued to act as sort of joint 
” superiors ” of the organization, but there was no thought of starting a 
regular “ Order.” The pious women who belonged to the Confrerie were 
simply charitable souls engaged in works of spiritual and temporal mercy, 
“ having no cloister but the fear of God, no religious habit but holy 
modesty.” But the very triumph of the movement demanded a change. 
Nursing in hospitals, rescuing foundlings and orphans, attending on the sick 
poor in their own homes, visiting the prisons — to mention but a few of 
the labours— are not matters that can be efficiently carried out just casually 
or by amateurs 1 So after about a year of organized training of some of 
the ladies in her own house, probably in the Rue de Foss6 St Victor, Louise, 
with the approval of her director, St Vincent, solemnly bound herself on 
25th March, 1634, to devote her life to works of charity. Other Sisters 

other op^7 in Paris, were condemned to death and executed. It was the first warning of the 
grim polic7 which was so soon to envelop France beneath the Red Robe ! The edict of Louis 
XIII was renewed with even greater stringency by his son, Louis XIV, in 1679. 



99 


Mar. 15] BLESSED LOUISE DE MARILLAC 

were later led to follow her example, and in May, 1636, a larger convent 
was opened in a house, known as “ La Chapelle St Denis,” near the re- 
sidence of the Lazarist Fathers, of which St Vincent was the Founder and 
first Superior, In 1 64 r, another house opposite St Lazarre itself was taken, 
and it remained the Mother-House of the Sisters of Charity down to the 
time of the Revolution. It was there that the first Sisters made their 
simple vows and binding only for a year, each promising “ to apply myself 
all this year to the corporeal and spiritual service of the sick poor, our 
true masters, with the help of God, which I ask through His Son, Jesus 

Crucified, and by the prayers of the Blessed Virgin. Signed ” 

During the selfish and almost purposeless Civil War known as “The 
Fronde” (1648-52), Louise de Marillac and her Sisters opened soup 
kitchens in Paris — ^probably the first of the kind to be started — and daily 
fed many hundreds, if not thousands, of persons rendered destitute by the 
internecine struggle. It was about this period, too, that the Sisters of 
Charity had their first experience of warfare, not in France, but at the siege 
of Varsovia in Poland, where some of their number had been sent at the 
request of the Queen of that country, Louise Marie, for the purpose of 
founding convents and hospitals. In all these labours this truly valiant 
woman was untiring, and her wonderful spirit of courage and hope not 
only animated her Sisters during her life, but it seems to have descended 
to the Order, and remained with it ever since. By 1659, the year before 
her death and that of the great spiritual Father of this mighty crusade of 
never-failing mercy, St Vincent, there were in France no less than forty 
houses. At the time of the Revolution (1789), these had increased to 426. 
Apart from expulsion and spoliation, the Sisters appear to have suffered 
little else from the Jacobin Terrorists, the enormous popularity of the 
foundation, owing to its vast services to afflicted humanity, saving the 
Religious from many of the worse persecutions that befell the rest of the 
Orders in France.^ The vast increase of the Congregation of the Sisters of 
Charity since the beginning of the nineteenth century is one of the many 
phenomena of the Catholic world. 

The life of such a personage as Louise de Marillac is so entwined 
with her work, that it is not easy to dissociate the two. It was chiefly in 
her conferences to her spiritual daughters that she revealed her innermost 
soul. We can give but three short passages from these and, though the 
examples be but brief, they will serve to illustrate the deep spirituality of 

1 Nevertheless, Soeur Fontaine and three other Sisters of Chanty were guillotined at 
Cambrai, 1794, for which see under June 26. 

The Sisters of Charity were restored in France by a joint-decree of the Three Consuls, 
Napoleon, Cambachres, and Ldbrun (i Sox) authorising the last superior, “The Citizeness, 
Deleau,” to commence the work of reorganizing the beneficent labours of the congregation 
Large premises were bestowed on the Sisters in the Rue de Bac, Paris, as the centre of their wor 



TOO 


BLESSED LOUISE DE MARILLAC [Mar. 15 

this great and generous woman. Thus, speaking on Vocation, she once 
said : “ We should put our vocation, in so far as it concerns us, before all 
others, being persuaded that God has called us to it for our greater good, 
and possibly as the sole means of our salvation. "We should be satisfied 
with the practices that it enjoins, and look upon the desire to undertake 
others, even though they should, in appearance, seem perfect, as a danger- 
ous temptation! ” With regard to “Vows,” her words are no less re- 
markable. “ The origin of vows,” she observed, “ is found in the death 
of our Saviour on the Cross, by which He entirely discharged our debt 
to the Divine Justice. It is a result of the promise He made figuratively 
when He said: ‘ And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all things 
to myself! ’ Is not tliis promise, O my God, literally fulfilled in all those 
to whom Thou givest the grace of binding themselves by vows ? For what 
remains to him who has made them } Nothing whatever except to belong 
to Thee by right of possession. . . . Thus all the actions of a person 
who has consecrated himself to Thee, belongs to Thee.” 

Again : “ The disposition of a soul which accepts with holy indifference 
whatever God wills in her regard, is truly angelic, because the angels in 
Heaven, destined to the guardianship of souls, await peacefully God’s 
orders — it being the same to them if they are employed in Heaven for the 
accidental glory of the Blessed, or in Purgatory for the consolation of the 
souls who suffer there, or on earth in order to communicate the holy in- 
spirations that are necessary to men for their salvation.” 

The reader will not be surprised to learn that one who had such com- 
passion for the suffering members of Christ’s mystical body, was ever 
filled with a deep devotion to the Sacred Passion. Every Friday, and 
during Lent, every day, she meditated for one hour on the sorrowful 
mysteries, repeating frequently the words: “ Christ was made obedient 
for us unto death, even unto the death of the Cross.” Herself no mean 
artist, she sent St Vincent, the very year that was to see the deaths of them 
both (1660), a picture of Our Lord crowned with thorns, which she had 
painted specially for his oratory. Her own last illness, a fever and painful 
inflammation brought on by a fall, began the next month, February. By 
March, ulceration and gangrene had supervened, and on the twelfth of 
that month she received the sacred Viaticum for the second time. At 
tne conclusion, the holy Foundress sent her last blessing to all her daughters 
in the Lord, praying “ that He may give you the grace of persevering in 
your vocation in order to serve Him in the manner He asks of you.” To 
the Duchess of Ventadour, and the many pious persons, religious and lay, 
who came to see her, she spoke words of spiritud comfort. Her holy and 
peaceful death occurred on 15th March, 1660, just after she had received 
the Apostolic Benediction. Buried in the Chapel of the Visitation in the 



BLESSED ROBERT DALBY 


Mar. 1 6] 


lOI 


Church of St Lawrence, her venerated remains were removed nearly a 
century later (1755) fo the Convent Chapel in the Rue St Martin. They 
repose now in the House of the Sisters, Rue du Bac. St Vincent himself, 
who had been her Co-founder in the work of the great Sisterhood of 
Charity, followed her to the grave on 27th September of the same year. 

The process of the Canonization of Louise de Marillac did not begin 
till 1886, when Cardinal Richard, Archbishop of Paris, caused the evidence 
' to be collected and forwarded to Rome. On loth June, 1895, Leo XIII 
signed the document that gave her the title of Venerable. His next 
successor but one, Benedict XV, solemnly declared her Blessed, 9th May, 
1920, so the time may not be far distant when this great ornament of 
religion and benefactress of the world, will be honoured on the altars of 
the Church as one of the most remarkable of the Saints. 


{^Life of the Venerable Louise de Marillac {Mademoiselle Le Gras), 
Foundress 0/ the Company of Sisters of Charity of St Vincent de 
Paul, by Alice Lady Lovat. Preface by Father Bernard 
Vaughan, S.J. (Simpkin, Marshall, Hamilton, Kent & Co. 
Ltd., London, E.C.).] 


MARCH 16 

BLESSED ROBERT DALBY, AND BLESSED JOHN 
AMI AS (OR ANN), PRIESTS, MARTYRS 
(P-1589). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

The particulars that have come down to us concerning the Blessed Robert 
Dalby are of a somewhat meagre character. He is described as a native 
of Hemingbrough in the Archdiocese of York, and to have been origin- 
ally a Protestant. It is also gathered that his former life was probably 
wayward, for it is said that having been warned by a Catholic of the danger- 
ous state of his soul, he was seized with a sudden terror or remorse, and 
even attempted to commit suicide. The wound, however, was not mortal. 
Like Lord Clive, much later and in a vastly different sphere, he was ‘‘ re- 
served for something great! ” While recovering from the effects of his 
rash act, he had full time further to consider spiritual matters, and having 
been reconciled to the Church, he resolved to devote himself to the priest- 
hood. He crossed to Rheims, where he was ordained, 1588. Having 
been a minister before his conversion {Cath, Record Socy., vol viii, p. 105 ».), 
he returned to the north, landing at Scarborough, but his labours for 
souls do not appear to have been very protracted, for according to the 
Catholic Record Society, vol. v., p. 192, he was seized at Medding on Palm 



102 


BLESSED JOHN AMI AS (OR ANN) [Mar. i6 

Sunday evening and committed to York Castle.^ Among the Catholic 
prisoners there at that time, for religion, was a priest, the Ven. Edward 
Burden, who, when he saw Mr Dalby going to his trial at the Assizes, 
exclaimed: “ Shall I always lie here like a beast while my brother hastens 
to his reward ? Truly, I am unworthy of such glory as to suffer for Christ. ’ 
The two priests, Dalby and Amias, were both condemned to death for 
having been “ ordained by the authority of the See of Rome,” and having 
“ returned into England and exercised there their priestly functions fot 
the benefit of the souls of their neighbours ” (Challoner). The Martyrdom, 
on 1 6th March, 1589, is narrated under the following; — 

Blessed John Amias. — ^The family of this fellow-sufferer with the Blessed 
Robert Dalby is stated to be the Anns of Frickley, Hooton Pagnell, 
"West Riding of Yorkshire. No doubt, the origin D’Anne, is Norman, 
since the noble house of Montmorency in France, which played such a 
dramatic part in the reigns of Henry II and Louis XIII, is said to have 
sprung from the same stock.® 

Fr. Pollen states that the Blessed John Amias was born near Wakefield, 
and that he was for a time engaged in the cloth trade, was married and 
had a large family. After his wife’s death he setded his property on the 
children and went to Douay to train for the priesthood. In the Douay 
list of students for 1577 his name appears as “Jon. Amias.” Part of 
his studies were made at Rheims, 1580-81, and on 28th March of the 
last year, he was ordained by Monseigneur Cosm6 Clausse de Marchau- 
mont, Bishop of Chalons. He said his first Mass in the Chapel of St 
Stephen at Rheims, and in June following came to England with the 
Ven. Edmund Sykes. The details of his sacerdotal career up to his arrest 
appear to be quite obscure. Even the accounts of the circumstances of 
his seizure are somewhat contradictory, the Catholic Record Society 
entry (vol. v., p. 192) stating that he was taken with the Ven. Robt. Dalby 
at Medding, while Fr. Pollen’s narrative has it that he was “ arrested at 
Mr Mutton’s house in Lancashire.” ® 

In death, at least, these two devoted missioners were not divided I 
On 1 6th March, 1589, following conviction at the York Lent Assizes, 

^ Fr. Pollen in The Venerable Martyrs of England, saj^ lie was arrested at Scarborough.. See 
next notice (Ven. John Amias). 

Henry de Montmorency, grandson of Anne de Montmorency, Constable of France, was 
beheaded for leading a rebellion against the government of Cardinal Richelieu, 1632. With 
him died the last direct descendant of the noble house of Montmorency. See Brewer’s Political, 
Social and Literary History of France. 

* Armo, 1589 ^Mr Amias and Mr Doberley, Priests, martyred 15th March. They 
were taken at Medding upon Palm Sunday even.” Cath. Pec. Socy., v., p. 192. Is Medding a 
misprint for Murton’s, ie., Mr Mnrton’s house i 



A^ar. 23 J ST JOSETU ORIOL 103 

for their priesthood, both martyrs were drawn on hurdles to about the 
distance of a mile outside York, and having arrived at the gallows, Mr 
Amias went up to it and kissed it. He then addressed the people, em- 
phasizing the fact that the cause of his and his companion’s death was 
not treason, but religion (Challoner). He seems to have been allowed to 
hang until he was dead before the dismembering was proceeded with. 
Among those who witnessed the deaths of these two valiant champions 
of the faith was Anthony Champney, D.D. (Sorbonne), sometime rector 
of the English College at Arras, who late in life became a Canon of the 
Old Chapter of the Bishop of Chalcedon, first English Vicar-Apostolic. 
While Mr Amias was being dispatched, Mr Dalby remained engaged in 
prayer till his turn came. The SherifFs men were very careful to see that 
no one carried away any relics of the martyrs, yet, notwithstanding their 
vigilance, a gentlewoman did make her way through the crowd and got 
near enough to the bodies to reverence them, which action gave rise to a 
considerable tumult. It is reported further, that a malefactor who was 
confined in York Castle saw, the night before the martyrdom, a mysterious 
light around the two priests who were to die next day, and was so affected 
by the sight that he forthwith sought for and obtained reconciliation with 
the Church. 

N.B . — ^Dame Elizabeth Anselma Anne (1715-94), third daughter of 
Marmaduke Anne, Esq., of Frickley Hall, Yorkshire, entered the Bene- 
dictine Abbey of Our Lady of Consolation, Cambrai, and was professed, 
1735. She died in the prison of Compiegne, 21st January, 1794, during 
the Reign of Terror, a worthy successor of her martyred collateral ancestor, 
the Blessed John Amias, or Anne. See the Carmelite Nuns, Martyrs of 
Compiegne, under July 16. 

[Burton and Pollen: Eng. Martyrs. Challoner: Memoirs. Cath. 

Record Society., vols. v. and viii. Gillow: Bibliog. Die. Eng. 

Caths^ 


MARCH 33 

ST JOSEPH ORIOL 
(1650-1702) 

This great Saint, known in Spain as the “ Thaumaturge of Barcelona,” 
was born in that city, 23rd November, 1650. His father, Juan Oriol, 
was a master velvet-maker, and his mother, Gertrude Boguna, the 
descendant of an ancient but decayed family, which, as far back as 1407, 
is mentioned in deeds relating to the Monastery of P edralbes.^ The little 
1 Guillsrmo Boguna was Sjndic (Sindico) of Tarrasa that year. 



104 


ST JOSEPH ORIOL [Mar. 23 

son of Juan and Gertrude Oriol was baptized the same day as his birth, 
in the parish church of San Pedro de las Puellos, his sponsors being 
Anthony Morell, M.D., and Senora Maria Puigvenlos, wife of one of the 
leading merchants of Barcelona. 

When our Saint was very young, he had the misfortune to lose his 
good father. After two or three years of widowhood, his mother married 
Dominic Pujolar, a well-to-do shoemaker and widower with a family. 
Already little Jos6 was remarkable for a wonderful devotion, and in the 
parish church of his new home, that of Santa Maria del Mar , he soon began 
to attract the attention of the good Fathers, who were naturally interested 
in a boy who seemed to be so full of the Grace of God. The statue of 
Our Lady in the Church was the little boy’s great spiritual joy, and this 
venerable image is pointed out to-day as an object of special veneration 
as the shrine where the Saint as a child prayed so long and fervently. 

After receiving the rudiments of a classical education, Jos6 entered 
the University of Barcelona on 9th September, 1664, at the very early 
age of fourteen. Spanish Universities, like those of Scotland at that 
time, appear to have combined the functions of a high school and a uni- 
versity. Oriol studied hard, not only because it was his duty to acquire 
knowledge, but because he recognized that not merely idleness, but even 
a want of response on the part of the pupil, inflicts much hardship on the 
professor. He was diligent in all his religious duties, hearing Mass daily, 
reciting the rosary, and extending, in fact, all the pious practices of his 
childhood. Though it is believed that he never committed a serious fault, 
he yet practised the greatest austerities frequently, as if his years had been 
spent in waywardness and forgetfulness of God 1 After he had been at 
the University about four years, Jos^ became conscious of a vocation to 
the priesthood. He did not act impulsively, but took counsel of his con- 
fessor and, like the young Samuel, made the matter a subject of much 
prayer. Having resolved upon the step he received the tonsure and 
two minor orders on the 20th and 21st December, 1669, and the last two 
on 31st May, 1670, all being conferred by Ildefonso de Sotomayor, Bishop 
of Barcelona. The priesthood was not received till 30th May, 1676, 
the ordination taking place in the Chapel of the Convent of Santa Clara 
at Vich. For some time after his ordination, the young priest, who was 
now a Doctor of Divinity, acted as tutor to the sons of Don Thomas de 
Gasneri, a Major-general in the Army of King Carlos II, but the time 
not given to tuition was spent in hearing confessions in the Church of the 
Oratory of St Philip Neri at Barcelona, and also as confessor to several 
convents, including that of Los Angeles, and the Magdalen Penitentiary. 
Not long after the death of his excellent mother, in 1686, our Saint made a 
pilgrimage of devotion to Rome, taking with him little else besides his 



Mar. 23] ST JOSEPH ORIOL 105 

breviary, a crucifix and some letters of recommendation from the Bishop 
of Barcelona. Pope Innocent XI, though esteemed somewhat severe, and 
a Pontiff by no means overgiven to granting favours, was pleased to confer 

on the holy pilgrim — the fame of whose apostolic life had preceded him 

a small benefice, that of the Church of Nuestra Senora del Pino in Bar- 
celona. As priest of this Church, Fr. Joseph Oriol — to give him the 
familiar modern English priestly title — soon displayed all the virtues we 
recall in connection with the life' of the St Cur^ d’Ars. He slept little, 
devoting most of the night to prayer and penance, and when he celebrated 
holy Mass all present felt awed by his devotion. For hours daily his 
confessional was not merely frequented but besieged by all kinds of 
persons, for the advice he gave seemed in every case to be no mere con- 
ventionally pious counsel, but a gleam of light from above 1 But just as 
the holy Curd of Ars longed for solitude to “weep over his poor sinsl ” 
so our Saint seems to have ever had before his eyes the desire of giving 
his life for the conversion of the heathen. The icy deserts of Siberia, or 
the then almost hermetically-sealed Empire of Japan, were each the 
objects of his solicitude. On the 31st March, 1698, he caused his will 
to be drawn up by Antonio Navarro, a notary of Barcelona, and having 
disposed of such small worldly property as he_ possessed — chiefly objects 
of piety and books — to such friends as Thomas Milans and Jeronima 
Llobet, his relatives, he started for Rome again, in the garb of a pilgrim 
and with the intention of placing himself at the disposal of propaganda for 
foreign missionary work. But man proposes I After reaching Marseilles, 
the would-be disciple of St Francis Xavier was seized with a mysterious 
malady of the fever kind, which seemed to increase every time he attempted 
to resume his journey. In all his devotions, our Saint appears to have 
poured himself forth as it were to Gur Lord, as if he were standing in 
His divine presence and were asking for some greatly-desired favour. 
There was no aloofness in his prayers. It was a case again like that of 
St Paul : “ I live now, not I, but Christ liveth in me.” Don Jos^ took, 
this malady to mean tliat Barcelona was to be his mission-field. He had 
zealously tried to do God’s will where he thought it lay, but it was not 
evidently so, and by 1699, he had returned to the former scene of his 
labours. The complete victory of the Saint over himself, not only in the 
many crosses and disappointments of his life, but especially in this great 
and humiliating trial of what may be called his abortive missionary attempt, 
was now about to be rewarded. The record of the four years that were tc 
pass from this time till his holy death reads like the history of some 
anchorite of the Thebaid, or wonder-worker of the Apostolic Age. We 
find the following miracles set down as having been wrought through 
the instrumentality of our Saint : (i) A dead child restored to life, the 



io6 ST JOSEPH ORIOL [Mar. 23 

circumstances duly verified by Antonio Navarro, notary, and Francis 
Bertran. (2) A dumb child, the son of a knight, cured after the Saint had 
made the sign of the Cross over his mouth. (3) Maria Estrada, daughter 
of a carpenter, cured of deafness by the Saint. Jeronima Corts, cured of 
a bad stammer and so enable to become a nun. (4) Maria Angela Ballesca 
cured of apoplexy. (5) Juan Sala of Barcelona cured of a painful disease. 
These are only a very few instances of the miraculous incidents attributed 
to the Saint, and which gave him even during his life the name of the 
“ Wonder-worker of Barcelona.” 

Ever since his illness at Marseilles, the health of Don Jos6 had been 
in a state of decline, but he pursued his daily round of prayer and spiritual 
administration in the confessional, the hospitals and penitentaries of 
the city, as if nothing was the matter. On the 7th of March, 1702, 
he recited Vespers as usual in the Church of the ” Pino,” and then re- 
turned to the house of his great friend, Isidro Llobet, where he lodged. 
That evening he was taken very ill with pleurisy, the doctor said, and the 
Holy Viaticum was administered, the Blessed Sacrament being carried to 
the sick Saint accompanied by a great procession of clergy and leading 
citizens. He received the Extreme Unction on the 22nd of the 
same month. Prayers were recited for the recovery of “ Our Saint ” all 
over the city, and the Blessed Sacrament was exposed for the same end 
in all the chmches. But Don Jos^ had foretold that his end had come, 
that his work for souls was now over, and he departed this life peacefully 
on the morning of 23rd March, 1702, His venerated remains were in- 
terred within the Chapel of San Leopardo in the Church of Our Lady 
del Pino the next day. An elegant Latin inscription reminds all readers 
that one adorned with such virtues and illustrious for such miracles is 
not really dead, but lives always by^example and memory. Devotion to 
the deceased increased in Spain all during the eighteenth century, and 
Pius VI declared that Joseph Oriol had practised virtues to an heroic 
degree. On the 5th of September, 1806, Pius VII declared the Vener- 
able Servant of Gk)d Blessed, an event which was followed by a great out- 
burst of religious enthusiasm in Barcelona and all Catalonia, notwithstand- 
ing the fact that the nation was approaching the crises that led up to the 
Peninsular War. In November, 1896, Cardinal Casanas, on behalf of the 
Royal Family, the Hierarchy, and many public bodies of Spain, petitioned 
Leo XIII for the Canonization of the Blessed Jos6, an event which thirteen 
years later was celebrated at St Peter’s under Pius X, 20th May, 1909. 

\Fida de San Jose Oriol, Escrita en Catalan con Motive de Su 
Canonizacion, Por Sor Ma Eulalia Anzizu. (Barcelona : « La 
Hormiga de Oro,” 1928.).] 



Mar. 25] BLESSED MARGARET CLITHEROW 


107 


MARCH 25 

CLITHEROW, THE BLESSED MARGARET, MARTYR > 
(^555 -^“^586). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

Margaret Cutherow, whose name stands forth in glorious relief among 
the Catholic sufferers under Elizabeth, was the daughter of Thomas 
Middleton, Sheriff of York, where she was born, about 155^ or 1556. 
Her father died when she was very young, leaving as a legacy to his little 
daughter a silver goblet and six silver spoons. In July, 1571, Margaret 
married John Clitherow, a rich butcher and City Chamberlain, who lived 
in a house in the “ Shambles,” a street which still remains as one of the 
“ bits ” of old York. About 1 574, Mrs Clitherow was converted to the 
Catholic faith, mainly, it seems, through reading, for she had hitherto 
been brought up so strictly in the established Protestant religion as not 
” to suspect that there was any other way to serve Godl ” After her con- 
version she began not only to lead a life of extraordinary holiness and 
mortification, but, full of zeal for the ancient Faith, she gave systematic 
hospitality to the priests who came to York to minister to and encourage 
the many Catholics in and about the city. Her husband, though himself 
a Protestant, was very friendly to his wife’s religion, for he had two brothers 
Catholics, one of them, William, being a priest. Like Queen Henrietta 
Maria, nearly sixty years later, Margaret Clitherow had a great devotion 
to those who had given their lives for the old religion, and she used to make 
a sort of pilgrimage, from time to time, to the York Tyburn, and pray 
openly beneath the “ tree ” that had been the door to Heaven for so many 
holy martyrs. This and her persistent absence from the Parish Church 
at length brought her under the notice of the civil authorities, as early 
as 1576. She was committed to prison, but after some two years was 
permitted to return home on bail. In March, 1586, her house was raided 
by the priest-hunters, and a Flemish servant boy, under threats of violence, 
showed the pxirsuivants a secret hiding-place where a chalice, vestments 
and other “ massing stuffe ” were concealed. Margaret was at once 
re-arrested, and committed for trial at the York Lent Assizes, then just 
opening. The indictment against her was that she had harboured priests, 
which, by i6th Eliz., was felony without benefit of clergy. At the trial 
at Bar, before Justices Clinch and Rhodes, 14th March, four days after 
her committal, Margaret refused to plead, as she did not wish her own 
children and servants — the only witnesses for the Crown — ^to testify 
against her. After a lengthy adjournment to give her time to alter her 
mind, the judges were compelled by the then state of the law to order 

» Spelt also, Glitheroe and CKtheron, in some old records. 



log BLESSED JAMES BIRD [Mar. 25 

the prisoner to be subjected to the Peine forte et dure.^ or slow pressing to 
death under a heavily weighted board.! This was the penalty which, since 
the reign of Henry IV, at least, was inflicted on those who refused to 
plead either way to an indictment for treason or felony. Margaret, 
though probably pregnant at the time, endured her horrible death at the 
Tolbooth Prison, York, with the utmost fortitude, 2 5th March, according 
to the old style, and Good Friday by the new. Among her last words 
were: “ God be thanked I am not worthy of so good a death as thisl ” 
She prayed “ especially for Elizabeth, Queen of England, that God 
[might] turn her to the Catholic Faith, and that after this mortal life she 
mightreceive the blessed joys of heaven 1 ” The body of Margaret Clitherow 
after being cast away, was rescued, incorrupt, by the faithful, but un- 
fortunately its place of burial has long been lost. A hand, much shrivelled, 
but still intact, is preserved as a sacred relic in the Bar Convent, York, 
and some of her hair at the Archbishop’s House, Westminster. Of 
Margaret Clitherow’s children, William and Henry became priests at 
Douay, while a daughter, Anne, entered the Convent of St Ursula, Lou- 
vain. The husband, Mr John Clitherow, was, according to Challoner, 
“ forced into banishment.” 

[Burton and Pollen: Lives of the Eng. Martyrs^ vol. i. Dom Bede 
Camm, do. A MS. Lifcy by her confessor, the Rev. John 
Mush, printed in Fr. Morris’s Troubles of Our Catholic Fore- 
fathers. The Rev. J. Mush died at an advanced age, 1617.] 


MARCH 25 

BIRD, THE BLESSED JAMES, MARTYR 
(.^—1593). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

Some of the records of the English martyrs relate that this young sufferer 
for the Catholic faith, was. but nineteen years of age at the time of his 
death. That this statement is incorrect, appears from the short report 
of the trial as given by Fr. Henry Garnet (Stonyhurst MSS., Anglia, i. n. 73, 
p. 149), where Bird is described as a “ recusant,” and as having “ been 
almost continuously in custody full ten years for this ofience, and having 
, become acquainted with wellnigh every prison in London.” All accounts, 
however, agree that he was a native of Winchester, where his father held 
municipal office, and that he was early reconciled to the Church. Both 

’ The last instance of the “ Peine ” being carried out, -was at the Cambridge Assizes, 1741. 
The Act of 1772 ordered a person who refused to plead to be adjudged guilty and sentenced 
’accordingly. The Statute of 1828 directs that in the case of a prisoner refusing to plead (unless 
Insane), a plea of not guilty is to be taken, and the trial to proceed in the ordinaty way. 



Mar. 25] BLESSED JAMES BIRD 109 

his parents were Protestants, and it is very probable that their son studied 
at Winchester School. After becoming a Catholic, young Bird went to 
Rheims, apparently for the purpose of studying for the priesthood, but 
left without having taken holy orders. The cause of this step does not 
appear, but after his return to England he showed great zeal for the 
ancient faith, and was, in consequence, more than once arrested. If Fr. 
Garnet’s statement referred to, be correct, the last seizure must have been 
in or about 1582 or 1 583, and the place was at Mr Jerome Hethe’s house. 
This gentleman is described as late a “ Citizen of Bruxelles,” and he may 
have been a relative of the deprived Archbishop of York, and also a 
member of the family of Hethe of Petersfield. The priest-hunters, it seems^ 
were really after a much more important quarry, Fr. H. Garnet, sometime 
Provincial of the Jesuits in England.' But it was all fish that came to the 
pursuivants’ net, and so young Mr Bird was taken as next best substitute 
for the famous Jesuit. From the latter’s statement that Bird had been 
” almost continuously in custody ” for ten years, it is to be gathered that 
the young man had been at liberty for some time when thus accidentally 
captured. He was brought up for trial at the Winchester Lent Assizes, 

1 592, before Sir Edmund Anderson, Lord Chief Justice of the Common 
Pleas, a great upholder of the Burleigh-Walsingham policy, and, con- 
sequently, a sworn foe of the Catholics. His Lordship’s charge to the 
jury, which was characteristic, ran as follows: “ Here you have John 
[James] Bird, a recusant. You know what a recusant means? A recusant is 
one who refuses to go to church. This no one does, except those who have 
been reconciled to the Church of Rome; but he that is reconciled to the 
Church of Rome is a rebel and a traitor. Now you know what you have to 
do.” After the inevitable verdict of guilty and sentence of death, Mr Bird 
was kept long in prison, and once when led out to execution and then brought 
back again, he showed manifest signs of grief at the respite. He had his 
desire on 25th March, 1593, the feast of the Annunciation of Our Lady, 
when he was taken to the place of execution “ cauled Bardiche,” and there 
hanged, drawn and quartered, according to sentence. Before being cast 
off the ladder, the Martyr had this remarkable dialogue with the Sheriff: 

Bird: « I beg you, Mr Sheriff, seeing that I am a native of this city, 
that you would grant me one favour before I die.” 

Sheriff: “ What favour? ” 

Bird; “ Tell me what I am to die for.” 

Sheriff: “ I know not. You received the death-sentence in the 
presence of the Judge. Who can know better than you the reason for 
which you were condemned ? ” 

> From r 587 till his death 1606, for his alleged share in the Gunpowder Plot of the preceding 



no 


ST BERNARDINE OF FOSSA 


[Mar. 26 


Bird: “ Nay, I don’t understand it at all.” 

Sheriff: “ Come now, confess your crime. Promise to go to churclij 
and the Queen’s pardon will be begged for you.” 

Bird: ” Right heartily do I thank thee! If by going to the church 
I can save my life, surely all the world will see this that I am executed 
solely for faith and religion and for nothing else. It was just this that I 
wished to elicit from you. Now, I gladly die! ” 

The head of James Bird was set upon a pole over one of the gates of 
the City, and it is said that his aged father in passing it by one day, ex- 
claimed: “ Ah, my son, Jemmy, who not only living wast ever obedient 
and dutiful, but now also when dead payest reverence to thy father 1 How 
far from thy heart was all affection or will for treason, or any other wicked- 
ness 1 ” 

[Challoner: Memoirs. Gillow: Bibliographical Dictionary of the 
English Catholics^ vol. i. Cath. Record Society^ vol. v. Fosse: 
fudges of England?^ 


MARCH 26 

ST BERNARDINE OF FOSSA 
(1420-1503) 

So-called from the place of his birth, the town of Fossa, in the diocese 
of Aquila, Italy. He was a scion of the noble house of Amici, and from 
having so long lived and ultimately having died at the town of Aquila, 
is often styled in Latin notices of him, Bernardinus Aquilinus. After 
studying the Civil and Canon Law at Perugia, he received there in March, 
1445, the habit of St Francis from the great preacher of the Order, St 
James of the Marches, who was then giving what would now be called 
“ a mission ” in the city, and exhorting numerous congregations to do 
penance.i The mantle of St James seems to have fallen upon Bernardine, 
who, after having attained to great perfection in the religious life, preached 
zealously in many parts of Italy, and later on in Dalmatia and Bosnia as 
well. His efforts for souls were crowned with much success, and allowing 

^ St James of the Marches, Fra James Gangala, O.S.F. (1391-1476). Famous for his 
sancti^ and great influence as a preacher of penance to sinners and of the faith to heretics. His 
persuasion did much to reconcile the moderate Hussites to the Church at the Council of Basle 
( ^43 ^)> Greeks at the Council of Florence (143 9-40) • Among his numerous learned and 

devotional •wntings — manj of which still remain in manuscript — is the valuable Regula Con- 
fitendi Peccaia, long used as a guide for confessors. St James also propounded the curious 
theory that the Precious Blood of Christ was not united to the Divinity during the three days in 
the Sepulchre, a statement which led to much theological discussion. St James of the Marches, 
who was canonized by Benedict XIII, 1726, lies buried in the Church of S. Maria la Nuova at 
Naples. 



Ill 


Mar. 28] BLESSED PETER LOUIS MARY CHANEL 

for the emotion and excitement often aroused in the southern tempera- 
ment on these occasions, the net result of the several courses was seen in 
a great and permanent change for the better in the lives of very many 
persons. It was with great difficulty and by dint of much entreaty that 
Fra Bernardine escaped being made Bishop of Aquila. His humility was, 
indeed, always a very noticeable trait in his conduct, and it was with mani- 
fest reluctance that he filled the office of Provincial of the Provinces of St 
Bernardine and of Dalmatia. A close student all his life, notwithstanding 
the many and great calls upon his time, Fr. Bernardine was able by econo- 
mizing his scanty leisure, not only to lay up a great stock of theological 
and historical learning, but also to enrich the world by several valuable 
literary contributions. In addition to Sermons and the Opusculoy which 
were such a favourite form of treatise during the age in which he lived, 
the subject of this notice also compiled the “ Annals of the Friar’s Minor 
Observants ” {ChroJiica Fratnm Minorum Observanttae). He also wrote the 
first biography of his patron, St Bernardine of Siena, whose holy life he 
had always kept before him as a model for his own. Fr. Bernardine of 
Fossa was canonized by Leo XII, 26th March, 1828. Among the several 
published notices of him may be mentioned, Luke Wadding’s Annales 
Minorum, vol. »i., pp. 277-80. Hugh k Pescocostanza: Fi/a del Beato 
Bernardino de Fossa. Naples, 1872. 

MARCH 28 

CHANEL, THE BLESSED PETER LOUIS MARY, MARTYR 

(1803-1841) 

The Blessed Peter Chanel, described by the Sacred Congregation of 
Rites in the process of his Canonization, as The Protomartyr of Oceania — 

“ Oceanicse Protomartyr ” — ^was born at Cuet, in the department of 
Ain, France, 1803. A zealous priest, the Abb^ Trompier, who saw in 
the boy the signs of vocation, prepared young Chanel for the junior 
seminary and aided him, generally, by his excellent example and advice. 
Having completed his studies, Peter Chanel was ordained priest in 1827. 
His first curacy was Amberieux, and he later served Crozet as its parish 
priest. The missionary spirit which, ever since the sixteenth century, at 
least, has characterized the French clergy, received about this time a great 
stimulus owing to the circulation in the country of accounts of the heroic 
life and death of the Blessed Father Francis Regis Clet, martyred in 
China in 1820.^ Among those fired by the noble example of the holy 
Lazarist Missioner, was the Abbd Chanel, and in 1831 he received per- 
mission to enter the Society of Mary, or “ Marists, which had been 

'• See Feb. 18 pije 69. 



ri2 


BLESSED PETER LOUIS MARY CHANEL [Mar. 28 

founded in 1824 by the Rev. Jean Claude Colin, who had been a fellow- 
student with the St Cur^ d’Ars. In 1836, the'- Society received the appro- 
bation of Pope Gregory XVI, and among the areas alloted to its missionary 
enterprise was Oceania. This very large extent of territory had at first 
been entrusted by propaganda to the Society of the Sacred Hearts of Jesus 
and Mary, but the charge proving too widespread, the western portion 
was formed into a Vicariate, the first Vicar-Apostolic being Bishop Pom- 
pallier.^ Tonga and Wallis Islands, Futuna and Nieu6 were added to the 
Vicariate later. After taking the three usual vows before Father Colin 
P^re Chanel went to his far-off “ cure ” and upon his arrival was appointed 
by Bishop Bataillon to Futuna — called also Horn or Allofatu. Besides 
the Bishop, the other missioners who sailed with P^re Chanel from Havre 
(24th December, 1836), were Servant, Bret, and three lay-brothers, Fr, 
Bret died on the voyage out. Pere Chanel’s field of spiritual labour was 
one of the group called the “ Friendly Islands ” by Captain Cook in i777j 
probably owing to the -then apparently pacific attitude of the inhabitants, 
who appeared to have no weapons of any kind. When our missioner took 
over his charge in 1837, the situation was very different. The place was 
distracted by civil war between various rival chiefs, while the practice 
of cannibalism had still further reduced the population. The religion 
of the natives was chiefly made up of supplications and sacrifices, 
mainly to placate various alleged malign gods. After mastering enough 
of the language to make it possible to commence the work he had in 
view, Pere Chanel entered upon his labours, and continued them with 
such patience and charity as to earn for himself the title of “ the kind- 
hearted man.” At first, the ruling Prince, Niuliki, was disposed to 
favour the little Christian community that grew up owing to P^re 
Chanel’s ministrations, but with the fickleness characteristic of so 
many Orientals, he before long veered round, and began to display the 
greatest hostility. This policy was largely dictated by the fact that his 
own son, Prince Meitala, had recently “ come over to Fr. Chanel,” and 
become, apparently, a zealous supporter of the Catholic faith. The Chief 
Counsellor of Prince (or King) Niuliki, his Minister, Musumusu, also 
saw, with jealous rage, the progress of Christianity in the island, and to 
nip it, as it was hoped, in the bud, a plot to exterminate its followers was 
devised, and attempted to be put into execution on 28 th April, 1841. 
Several local chiefs and their vassals allied themselves with the forces of 
Niuliki, and falling on the Christian Community, dangerously wounded 
many persons while asleep, and then proceeding to Pfere Chanel’s hut, 
grievously mauled him with a war-club and a bayonet. Like St Elphege, 

1 Translated to AucUand, N.Z., 1845. Resigned, r868. Died in France, 1870. Hii 
successor at Auckland was Bishop Thomas Croke, later Archbishop of Cashel (d. 1902). 



Aprils] BLESSED JOHN PAYNE 113 

the Archbishop of Canterbury during the Danish invasion (1012), P^re 
Chanel consummated his martyrdom by having his head cleaved in two 
by an axe, the actual deliverer of the blow being the Minister, Mosumusu 
himself. The venerated body of the “Protomartyr of Oceania,” was 
first interred in the place of his auspicious death, but next year, 1842, 
Captain Lavaux, Commander of the French Naval Station at Tahiti, 
caused it to be transported to France. The cause of the holy missioner 
was introduced at Rome in 1857J oji 17th November, 1889, the 

solemnities of his Beatification were celebrated in St Peter’s, in the presence 
of the Pope, Leo XIII, and a large and brilliant Congregation. It may be 
of interest to add that the Catholic population of the Oceania Archipelagoes 
was estimated at about 9200 in 1910. Mgr Bataillon, the first Vicar- 
Apostolic, was succeeded by Mgr Lamaze, whose episcopate lasted till 
1906, when he was followed by his coadjutor. Mgr Amand Olier — a 
name, indeed, of good omenl 

[Mangeret: Mgr. Bataillon et les Missions de V Oceanic Centrale, 
(Lyons, 1884.) Bourdin: Vie du Pire Chanel, (Lyons, 
1867.).] 


APRIL 2 

JOHN PAYNE, THE BLESSED, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(.?- i 582) 

In the course of 1855, there was discovered in Lord Petre’s house, at 
Ingatestone, Essex, a secret “ hold ” or hiding-place that had evidently 
been used to conceal fugitive priests during the days of persecution. Not 
infrequently pewter chalices, old abridged missals, small candlesticks, 
and other silent evidences of the Mass which mattered so much in those 
days, have been found in these interesting refuges, but on this occasion 
the only thing lighted upon was an empty trunk bearing a label inscribed 
in the ornate handwriting of about I’j'jo: “ For the Dowager Lady 
Petre at Ingatestone Hall, Essex.” The box and the label show that the 
hiding-place had been — characteristically enough — ^used in the preceding 
century as a lumber room, and afterwards, no doubt, shut up and for- 
gotten.^ But the secret recess had undoubtedly sheltered the Rev. John 
Payne, who was sometime chaplain to the Petre family during 15773 
again in 1579* Of this blessed martyr’s early history, there is not much 
extant. He is said to have been born in the diocese of Peterborough, but 
it is not known whether he was ever at either Oxford or Cambridge. He 
went to Douay College with twelve other students in I 574 > 
ordained there, 7th April, 1576. From this it may be inferred that he 
.1 Tie Catholic Handbook of London, 1857. (Bums & Lambert.) 


H 



1 14 blessed JOHN PAYNE [Aprils 

was already well advanced in classical and theological study, or else a much 
longer course would, no doubt, have been required before - sending him 
forA to contend with “ the hereticks ” of Elizabethan England. Before 
coming on the mission in June of the same year, Mr Payne made the 
“ Spiritual Exercises ” with the Jesuit Fathers, and then set forth in com- 
pany with a Mr Godsalve. This latter priest after several years on the 
mission, and a bitter experience of imprisonment and torture for the faith, 
was exiled, and died at Paris. In the account given of the Blessed Cuth- 
bert Mayne, the protomartyr of Douay, some particulars have been 
afforded of the consternation caused in this country by the initial missionary 
activity of the priests of that College. The Rev. John Payne arrived in 
the midst of the mingled rage, terror and surprise that filled the minds 
of “ the hereticks ” at the number of reconciliations that were daily taking 
place among the nobility, gentry and the commoner sort. The search 
for “ Romish Priestes and Jesuites,” though the latter had not as yet 
come on the English mission, became very hot, and in January, i 577 j 
the Rev. John Payne was arrested at Lady Petre’s. The Petres were then 
high in influence at the English Court. Sir William Petre — the peerage 
was not conferred till 1603 — ^had been one of Henry VIIPs Visitors and 
Conomissioners for the disposal of the Abbey lands, and he had also gone 
with the times under Edward VI and Mary. But age, and very likely 
remorse, brought him to consider his life and policy, and not long after 
the accession of Elizabeth, he went less and less to ’Court. He died a 
Catholic, 13th January, 1572, and needless to add, his descendants have 
never swerved from the ancient faith. No doubt it was consideration for 
the services of the late knight to the Crown, that led to a lenient view being 
taken of his relict’s chaplain, for towards the end of the same year (i S 77 )> 
the Rev. John Payne was released from custody, and in November was 
back at Douay. By Christmas, 1579, however, our- priest was again at 
Ingatestone, where he passed as steward. to “my Lady Petre.” While 
there, he seems to have incurred the hatred of the notorious George Eliol^ 
who was employed in the house in some menial capacity. This Eliot had 
a very bad record. He had stolen his employer’s money, seduced a young 
woman, and even, so it is said, committed a murder 1 So to cover up his 
crimes he turned spy, and through his information Mr Payne was 
arrested in Warwickshire. He was brought before Walsingham at Green- 
wich, the journey of the prisoner and his captors to that royal town costing 
the government ,^12, or about ,^144 in present currency. The martyrdoms 
of the two preceding years had been much condemned by public opinion 
at home and abroad, so it was necessary to bring forward some other charge 
than that of religion in the present case. This being so, Eliot, Munday, 
and the other “witnesses” were undoubtedly encouraged to invent a 



Aprils] BLESSED JOHN PAYNE 115 

picturesque story about a conspiracy against the Queen and her ministers. 
A body of fifty assassins, armed with swords and “ pocket-dagges ” (/.<?., 
wheel-iock pistols) were to lay in wait for “Her Highness,’’ “Your 
Honour ’’ (Lord Burleigh), “ My Lord Treasurer,’’ and “ Mr Secretary 
Walsingham,” and a speedy “killing time’’ was to ensue! The Pope 
(Gregory XIII) was to furnish the rewards for the slaying, and further- 
more it was asserted that His Holiness was prepared to declare — ^with a 
view to quieting possible troubled breasts — that the deed was “ without 
any offence to Godward 1 ’’ From what Professor Meyer has lately told us of 
that PontifT s private opinion as to “ extreme measures,’’ with reference to 
the “ English Jezabel,’’ we can well believe that no great papal condemna- 
tion would have followed any such dramatic “ removal ’’ of the Tudor 
Queen, as the one just detailed. But, in fact, the whole story of this plot 
was an infamous fabrication, so much so, indeed, that even Walsingham — 
one of the alleged intended “ victims ’’ — ^in a letter to Lord Burleigh, 
declared that after inquiry, he could discover nothing in it.’^ The Rev. 
John Payne lay many months in the Tower, where he was racked so bar- 
barously that he was unable to write a repudiation of the groundless charges 
laid to his account by the perjured Eliot, but had to dictate his reply. In 
March, 1582, he was hurried out of bed, being scarcely given time to put 
on his cassock, and sent down to Chelmsford to answer for his life at the 
Essex Assizes. Eliot was, of course, the chief “ witness for the Crown,’’ 
and this worthy precursor of Titus Oates flaunted into Court wearing 
his red embroidered coat as one of the newly appointed members of the 
Yeoman of the Guard. Mr Payne — ^no counsel to address the jury being 
allowed persons accused of treason till 1696 — ^made a very good defence 
in spite of the great disadvantage he was under, and his exposure of the 
infamous Eliot was worthy of Dickens’s “ hustling ’’ counsel, Charles 
Stryver. Where State matters were involved, few juries in those days 
ventured to go against the Crown, and the. usual verdict of “ guilty ’’ was, 
therefore, recorded. In exhorting the prisoner to repent, the presiding 
Justice, Sir Thomas Gawdy, “ a very reverend judge and sage of the law,’’ 
added significantly, “ You may better instruct me herein.’’ ^ 

1 “ I have been all this da.y ... set -at work about the examinations of certain penons 
charged to have conspired to attempt somewhat against her [the Queen’s] own person. But as 
far as I can gather by these examinations that I have alreadj taken, I think it will prove 
nothing, and yet it is happy that the parties charged are taken, for that they be runagate priests, 
such as have been bred up in Rome and Douay, and seek to corrupt her Majesty’s good subjects 
within this realm.” Record Office; Domestic Papers, Reign of Elizabeth, vol. 1 ., pp, 49 > ^ 9 - 

» Sir Thomas Gimdey or Gaudy (</ 1589), appointed Judge of the Queen’s Bench, 1574, 
Though described as“the only favourer”of the Protestants among the Essex Justices m 1555, 
he was unmolested in Mary’s reign during which time he was M.P. for Arundel. He was one 
of the Judges at the trial of the Queen of Scots at Fotieringhay, 1586. 



ii6 BLESSED HENRY WALPOLE [April 7 

It was usual at the executions of priests during this period, to send 
ministers to dispute with them either at the gallows or shortly before the 
fatal day. Mr Payne was much “ vexed ” by the “ foolish babbling ” of 
two Calvinistic divines — the established Church by 1582 had almost 
entirely gone over to Geneva — named Withers and Sone, and the “ babb- 
ling ” must have been foolish, indeed, if it was on a par with the report 
that was circulated among the vulgar to the effect that the condemned 
“ was a Jesuit,” and that “ the Jesuits’ opinion was that Christ was not 
God! 1 To counteract the evil likely to be caused by the lying rumour, 
Mr Payne, when at the gallows at Chelmsford, on Monday, 2nd April, 
1582, “ made a fuU declaration of his faith in the Most Holy Trinity and 
Incarnation.” He then solemnly disclaimed any treason in act or word 
against the Queen, whom he had previously described in writing as always 
honoured by him “ above any woman in the world ” (Challoner). His 
speech, and, no doubt, his amiable character still more, seem to have 
made a deep impression, for the crowd would not suffer the more barbarous 
parts of the sentence to be carried out until the martyr was dead, and 
Bull, the hangman of Newgate, who officiated on this occasion, was forced 
to comply with the popular demand. 

APRIL 4. 

ST ISIDORE, BISHOP OF SEVILLE 

0 - 6 ^ 6 ) 

[For Life of this Saint, see Butler’s Lives oj the Fathers^ Martyrs 
and other Saints, vol. i.J 

APRIL 7 

WALPOLE, THE BLESSED HENRY, PRIEST 
AND MARTYR 

(1558-1595). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

Even the great dilettante lounger of the eighteenth century, Horace Wal- 
pole, amidst his articles of “ bigotry and. virtue ” at Strawberry Hill — as the 
wife of the famous “ Railway King,” George Hudson, later described these 
and similar “ auld knick-knackets 1 ’’—liked to recall the fact that he 
was of the same family as the Jesuit and poet who died so tragically 
at York in the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign. Henry Walpole, son 
of Christopher Walpole, Esquire, of Docking, Norfolk, and Margery 
Beckham, his wife, was bom in 1558, the year that saw the passing 



April 7] BLESSED HENRY WALPOLE 


of the old religion in England. As his father was a member of Gray’s 
Inn and a Chamber-Counsel of some distinction, and his uncle, John 
Walpole, a Seijeant-at-law, who, but for a comparatively early death, 
would have become a judge, it was resolved that the subject of this notice 
should join the ranks of the Bar after he had completed his classical course. 
This part of young Walpole’s education was commenced at Norwich 
Grammar School, which had been recently founded by Edward VI in the 
old structure erected by John Salmon, Bishop of Norwich and Lord 
Chancellor of England under Edward II. After leaving Gonville College, 
Cambridge, Henry Walpole entered Gray’s Inn. The Inns of Court at 
that time were reputed to be full of papists, and, in fact, the Reformation, 
as an enormous social upheaval, was like most violent changes that mean 
an almost total break with the past, long notoriously unpopular with the 
gentlemen of the robe. So the Government kept its eye on the “Innes,” 
and from time to time, notably in 1569 and 1580, sent down Commissions 
to “ purge them of popery.” Notwithstanding this -vigilance, recusants 
still continued to frequent the hostels of the law, and not long after be- 
coming a member of Gray’s Inn, Henry Walpole would appear to have 
become intimate with a number of Catholic gentlemen and through them 
with Father Campion. Edmund Campion, the pioneer of the Jesuit mission 
to this country, was a magnetic character. Wherever he went, he inspired 
a sort of furore.) and despite the penal laws, numbers of educated persons, 
both Catholic and Protestant, not only went to hear him preach, but hung 
upon his words. It is said that Elizabeth herself was on one occasion 
among his auditors, listening to the golden-mouthed Jesuit from behind 
a curtain, and so carried away was even the cynical and sceptical Queen, 
that she secretly offered the proscribed priest the mitre of Canterbury if 
he would but conform. ' Walpole, surrounded by such influences, seems 
to have given himself to a serious study of the “ Catholic claims.” He 
was a great reader of books of controversy, so Challoner tells us, and while 
still at Gray’s Inn was reconciled to the Church. No doubt Campion’s 
Decern RationeS) written in Ciceronian Latin and full of cogent arguments 
for the old Faith, had much to do in deciding the change. The famous 
apologetic, on its first appearance at Oxford in June, 1 58 r, caused a mighty 
stir — as in the case of almost everything else its brilliant author said or did. 
When Campion, on ist December of the last-named year, paid the penalty 
of all this zeal, religion and genius, Walpole was among the crowd of 
sorrowing sympathizers that stood around Tyburn Tree. A splash of the 
martyr’s blood as the butchery proceeded seemed to the young and grief- 
stricken law-student to be a direct call from God to walk in his friend s 


footsteps. Before proceeding to action in the matter, he put pen to paper, 
and the result was the magnificent poem of thirty stanzas on the Life 



BLESSED HENRY WALPOLE 


ii8 


[April 7 


and Death of the most famous Clerk and Virtuous Priest, Edmund 
Campion.” Even if the recent tragedy of Tyburn had not set all men 
talking about the wonderful Jesuit, Walpole’s sweet and beautiful lines 
would have won the recognition of all true lovers of literature. But the 
circumstances being what they were, the effect of the poem was electric. 
The Government was amazed, and then enraged and alarmed. Search 
was made for the daring poetic eulogizer of the priestly “ rebel ” and open 
denouncer of the bloody Burleigh-Walsingham code, but in vain. Walpole 
hid himself in Norfolk, but his printer and publisher, Stephen Valenger, 
was taken — and lost his ears 1 Upholding the independence of the press 
in those drastic days was a matter of great peril and still greater personal 
courage, and the Fourth Estate had its martyrs and confessors as well as 
the people who teach us “ to live and to die.” 

By July, 1582, Walpole had crossed the sea and was a student of 
theology at Rheims, though the following April saw him in the English 
College, Rome, as preparatory to entering the Society of Jesus. His 
studies in the Society were continued at Verdun, but it was not until 17th 
December, 1588, that he was ordained priest at Paris, then torn by bloody 
conflicts between the Citizen Army of the ” League ” and the troops of the 
vacillating Henry III. Fr. Walpole, as he now was, no doubt felt glad 
to leave the horrible scene of dag and dagger strife for the ILow Countries, 
where, at least, a more or less regular warfare was in progress, the belli- 
gerents being the Spanish Armies led by the Duke of Parma, and the 
patriots under Prince Maurice of Orange. There were many “ foreign 
legions ” serving on both sides, and a thorough army chaplain’s depart- 
ment seems to have been organized by the Belgian Jesuits. Fr, Walpole 
now became a priest at the front, where he did much excellent work among 
the large number of his countrymen who were serving as soldiers of fortune 
among the dykes and canals of Holland. He was taken prisoner by the 
Earl of Leicester’s garrison at Flushing, but after an unpleasant experience 
as prisoner of war in the midst of rogues and cut-throats, obtained his 
liberty by the golden key of a considerable ransom. We must pass over 
his experiences in Spain as amanuensis to the almost Napoleonic Fr. 
Parsons, whose Responsio ad Elizabeth^e Edictum he translated into English. 
This book, which exalted the deposing power of the Pope into an article 
of faith, must have caused almost as much surprise in Rome as it wrought 
irritation in England, and, indeed, in most transalpine countries. Two 
years later (1593), Fr. Walpole petitioned, and successfully, to be sent to 
England. He had a gracious send-off from Philip II, and sailed from 
Dunkirk in a kind of pirate ship — a not very safe mode of transport in 
any case, for a passenger not only ran the imminent risk of being hung 
in chains if the searoving craft were taken, but the cut-throat crew not 



BLESSED EDWARD OLDCORNE 


April 7] 


119 


infrequently heaved the superfluous cargo living and dead overboard in the 
event of a bad storm coming on, or should a pursuing vessel prove too fast a 
sailer ! Fr. Henry, however, his brother Thomas, and another companion, 
a soldier of fortune, were ultimately set a shore at Bridlington, Yorkshire 
(6th December), but within a few hours were arrested as suspects. In 
York Castle, Thomas Walpole was unbrotherly enough to tell the authori- 
ties all about his priest kinsman, but Henry, so far from being anxious to 
hide his real character, openly declared who and what he was, and 
challenged any heretical minister to dispute with him. Such an important 
capture could not remain local, and in February the enthusiastic Jesuit 
was in London and the Tower. There he was racked again and again 
by the brutal TopclifFe, to get from him details of the plots which it was 
supposed the Catholics were eternally contriving at home and abroad. 
Nothing, however, was obtained in the way of information, for the reason 
that there was nothing to be got, and in the Spring of 1595, Fr. Walpole 
was back at York for his trial. He was brought in guilty on 3rd April of 
the chief count, /.<?., of being a Jesuit priest and exercising his sacerdotal 
functions in England. He spent the time between sentence and martyr- 
dom on the 7th in exercises of piety and in a happy serenity of mind 
which astonished all beholders. He suffered at York, together with the 
Rev. Alexander Rawlins, after reciting the Lord’s Prayer and the Angelical 
Salutation. It was remarked that the Earl of Huntingdon, a great per- 
secutor of the Northern Catholics, and who had been instrumental in the 
death of our martyr, died shortly afterwards and in great remorse, appar- 
ently. He sent for his brother, the Hon. William Hastings, a Catholic, 
when on his death-bed, but expired before that gentleman could reach 
him. 

[Foley: Records of the English Province, Society of Jesus. Fr. John 

Morris; Life of Father John Gerard. Canon Augustus Jessop: 

One Generation of a Norfolk Housel] 


APRIL 7 

OLDCORNE, S.J., THE BLESSED EDWARD, MARTYR 
(ry6i-i6o6). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

The father of this, one of the much discussed Jesuits associated with the 
Gunpowder Plot, was not a Catholic, though “ suspected of papistry ” 
as.farbackas 1572 (Morris: Troubles of Our Catholic Forefathers, Sexier 
iii., p. 352). The mother, Elizabeth, was a Catholic, and her name appears 
among the recusants of St Sampson’s Parish in the City of York for 159^- 
Their son, Edward, was born in 1561, at York, and the parents, who had 



120 


BLESSED EDWARD OLDCORNE 


[April 7 


some means and more ambition, were anxmus that he should adopt the 
medical profession, a calling, the acquisition of which then and long after 
meant either going to one of the Universities at home or abroad, or being 
apprenticed to a physician or surgeon for five years. Mr Oldcorne was 
a bricklayer, but of the mentally superior kind, like his contemporary, 
“ Rare ” Ben Jonson, who helped to lay the bricks of the eastern wall 
of Lincoln’s Inn, as well as lay the foundations of the modern British 
drama U But after studying anatomy and physiology for a few years, 
Oldcorne, Junior, resolved to become a physician of the soul. One of 
his uncles, Thomas Oldcorne, was already a priest and labouring zealously 
among the Catholics in Yorkshire, and some of the adjacent counties 
suffering much for the Faith, being “ in prisons more frequently,” and 
running constant risk of even a more terrible fate. In 1582,' Edward 
Oldcorne passed over to Rheims, his fellow-students there being Edward 
Osbaldeston, John Fettes, Edmund Arrowsmith, Christopher Bayles, 
Christopher Buxton, John Pibush, John Hewett, Anthony Middleton 
{Cath. Record. Socy. Miscellanea^ vii-^ It is not certain whether the Edmund 
Arrowsmith here mentioned was the martyr of 1628 or another of the 
same name, but John Hewett {alias Weldon) died for the Faith at Mile 
End green, 5th October, 1588, though the horrible disembowelling was 
specially remitted by the Queen in this case. After about five years in 
Rome, Oldcorne was ordained priest, August, 1587. Like many students 
of the English College at this time, owing, no doubt, partly to the presence 
«>nd example of the Jesuit Superiors of the place, he was received into the 
Society of Jesus on the Feast of the Assumption, 1588, and about September 
following, came to England with two secular priests. The party landed 
in Norfolk (or Suffolk), walked inland amid much rain, and spent the 
night in a wood — ^yet “ all very merryl ” Next day, Oldcorne managed 
to get a passage on a ship bound for London, where for some time he did 
missionary work among the Catholics of the metropolis, but in March, 
1589, F. Garnet, the Provincial, placed him as Chaplain at Hindlip 
Hall, Worcestershire, the seat of the ancient family of Habington (Abing- 
ton or Havington). This staunch Catholic stock seems to have been torn 
between two loyalties. The Squire, John Habington, notwithstanding 
his “ papistrie,” was Cofferer to Queen Elizabeth.® His younger son, 
Thomas, the future famous antiquary, was the Queen’s godson. Another 
son, Edward, was one of “ that unfortunate band ” of romantic youths 

1 Lincoln's Inn ; Its Ancient end Modem Buildings, coith an Account of the Library. By 
W. H. Spilsbury. (London: 'William Pickering, 1850.) 

* The Cofferer of the Royal Household was the officer who kept the palace accounts, paid 
the servants and current charges. He was under the GomptroUer and his books, etc., were 
audited by the Exchequer. 



Apiul 7] BLESSED EDWARD OLDCORNE 121 

which became involved in the Babington-Balkrd Plot for the deliverance 
of the imprisoned Queen of Scots, and with the rest, he perished on the 
scaffold, 20th September, It may be added that the assassination 

part of the conspiracy had no approval or support whatever from young 
Habington and his immediate set. The liberation of the Scottish Andro- 
meda was alone the object of this Perseian band. Hindiip Hall or Castle 
seems to have been built about 1572, and at the time when Fr. Oldcorne 
arrived there, or a little later, the mansion had become a perfect rabbit- 
warren of secret hiding-places and modes of escape. Trap-doors, sliding 
panels, secret staircases and curiously constructed retreats and egresses 
existed everywhere, while the house itself, standing as it did upon an 
eminence, enabled the inmates to observe the approach of suspicious or un- 
welcome strangers. Most of these ingenious, but necessary, contrivances 
of the penal days, were the work of Brother Nicholas Owen, S.J., a famous 
joiner, and they, like others of the kind up and down the country, are a 
lasting memorial of the straits our Catholic forefathers were so long put 
to, to safeguard the Mass and the other rites and beliefs of the ancient 
Faith.^ Fr. Oldcorne remained at Hindiip sixteen years, and during that 
time is said to have reconciled many persons to the Church, including the 
Squire’s sister, Dorothy Habington. That lady, from her long residence 
at the Court of Queen Elizabeth, had imbibed the fanatical Calvinism which 
characterized the established religion towards the end of the Queen’s 
reign, and she was, needless to add, a bitter enemy of everything that 
savoured of the old Church. By much prayer and fasting, Fr. Oldcorne 
won over this unlikely convert, who is reported to have deeply bewailed 
her long obduracy and the blindness which had robbed her of the many 
consolations of the true Faith.^ 

Fr. Oldcorne’s missionary journeys took him to the extemes of Wor- 
cestershire, and far beyond it. To these incessant labours is attributed 
a severe ulceration which caused the zealous priest much distress. Devotion 
' to the ancient British Saint led him to go on a pilgrimage to St Winifred’s 
Well, which pious journey the relaxation of the penal laws after the accession 
of James I made possible. When on the way to the Well, he is said to 
have stayed -at the house of a great Catholic family, presumably the 
Mostyns of Talacre, where the Chaplain showed him a stone which had 
been taken from the miraculous fountain. The afflicted priest forthwith 
applied this stone to his wound, at the same time commending himself 
to the suffrages of the Saint, and after bathing in the Well, he was found 

1 Blotter N. Owen, S.J., known as “Little John,” is also supposed to have designed the 
secret liiding-places at Sutton Place, near Guildford, He died in the Tower from e e ects 

of torture either in May or November 1606. , r j ^ 

* Challoner, Miistoaary Priests., vol. ii.. Appendix. (Art and Book Co., London.} 



122 


BLESSED EDWARD OLDCORNE 


[April 7 

to be perfectly cured of his dangerous and troublesome malady. It is from 
the particulars later given by him to Fr. John Gerard, that we learn the 
history of this edifying and consoling incident, which made a great sensation 
in the district, and is, indeed, one of the many undoubted cure’s wrought 
through the intercession of the martyred Virgin and Princess. 

Though the Squire of Hindlip was brother-in-law of Lord Mont- 
eagle, who informed by the mysterious letter from Tresham, became 
instrumental in revealing to the Government of James I the existence of the 
Gunpowder Plot,^ it is improbable that either he or any other of the members 
of his family had any previous knowledge of that frightful conspiracy. 
The English Catholics, generally, as the King himself subsequently 
admitted, were not in the awful secret, and the overwhelming majority of 
them vehemently denounced the crime. The shadow of the dark event, 
however, fell upon Hindlip in this way. When “ the Gunpowder Treason 
and Plot” was discovered in November, 1605, Fr. Garnet, the Pro- 
vincial of the English Jesuits, was at Coughton Court, Warwickshire, one 
of the seats of the ancient family of Throckmorton. A letter had been 
found on Guy Fawkes addressed to the famous priest — then residing at 
White Webbs, Hertfordshire — and the Privy Council, of course, was 
soon most anxious to lay hands not only on Garnet, but also on Fathers 
Greenway and Gerard — the three confessors of the Conspirators. Early 
in December, Garnet, for greater security, went to Hindlip at the express 
invitation of Fr. Oldcorne, though the letter requesting the Provincial’s 
presence at Hindlip had actually been sent several weeks before. This 
point is material, for if the invitation were sent before the warrant of the 
Privy Council for the arrest of Garnet appeared, Oldcorne, on the face of 
it, could not be guilty of ” harbouring a traitor.” When all was over, 
Fathers Gerard and Greenway escaped to the Continent, and it is likely 
enough that Garnet would have eluded pm-suit, too, had not Humphrey 
Littleton, then in prison for concealing at Hagley his cousin and another 
of the plotters, informed the Government — probably under threat of 
torture — that Garnet was at Hindlip. In January, 1606, Sir Henry 
Bromley, a local Justice, and a body of soldiers, a hundred in number, 
armed with guns and all sorts of weapons, forced their way into the house, 
and a regular search began. Doors were forced, wainscots ripped open, 
floors forced up, yet nothing found but " some popish trash ” under the 
boards. For days the search went on relentlessly, but hot as it was, it seems 
very probable that the quarry even then would have escaped had more time 

^ vexed question of the secret knowledge of the Plot alleged to have already been 
possessed by the ministers of James I need not be discussed here. In almost every conspiracy, 
the ruling powers have been accused of being privy to the same, and in using the odium caused 
by the “ discovery” for the purpose of discrediting their enemies J 



April 7] BLESSED EDWARD OLDCORNB 123 

been given them to select a hiding-place that had an egress into the grounds. 
At length after nearly a week, two spectre-like figures came out of a recess. 
They were the wanted ’ priests driven forth by lack of air and not dearth 
of provisions, for “ marmalade and other sweetmeats ” were found in the 
hold lately occupied by them. The place was blocked by books and 
furniture, and, no doubt, suffocation under such conditions would not 
have been a long or difficult matter. 

Sir Henry Bromley, though reckoned “ the greatest Puritan ” in 
W^orcestershire, was soon won by the charm of his chief captive Fr. 
Garnet. That famous priest, together with Fr. Oldcorne and the 
Squire of Hindlip, was brought up to London under a strong escort, and 
by the time the Capital was reached, Bromley had conceived a sort of 
enthusiasm for Garnet, who was a man of deep piety, genial disposition 
and wonderful powers of mind. The good offices of Sir Henry caused the 
prisoners to receive practically good treatment for some time, but why 
later, Fr. Oldcorne was fearfully racked in the Tower is not clear. 
He had been far from the scene of the conspiracy, and personally knew 
little of the chief actors in it. On the other hand, Garnet, who as the 
Provincial of the Jesuits in England, and one well acquainted with Catesby 
and several of his abetters, was, no doubt, regarded as very deep in the 
affair. Yet he was exempted from torture by the express order of the 
King. In spite of his awful sufferings Oldcorne persistently denied any 
guilty knowledge of the plot. But the famous “ arranged ” conversation 
between him and Garnet in the Tower, when the questions and answers 
were taken down by the two concealed listeners, Lockerson and Forsett, 
enabled the authorities to collect evidence warranting — according to the 
standards of the day — the trial of both prisoners for high treason. On 
list March, 1606, Fr. Oldcorne was sent back to Worcester, and at the 
Lent Assizes — quite a number of the Catholic sufferers in this period of 
the penal days seem to have been indicted at the Lent Assizes — he was 
arraigned for (a) inviting Garne^ an accused traitor, to hide at Hindlip; 
(^) for requesting in writing Fr. Robert Jones of Herefordshire to shelter 
two of the conspirators. The sentence of death which, of course, followed 
the formal trial was carried out, 7th April, 1 606, at Redhill, near Worcester. 

It is related by Bishop Challoner that after the sufferer’s heart and entrails 
were cast into the fire, the flames continued burning for sixteen days, 
despite heavy rain, “ which was looked upon as a prodigy and testimony 
of his innocence.” Humphrey Littleton, who was executed at the same 
time, asked pardon of God before the people for having wrongfully accused 
Fr. Oldcorne of a share in the conspiracy. At his trial, the priest reminded 
the Court that he had invited Fr. Garnet to visit Hindlip some six weeks 
before the proclamation came out against him, and that he, the accused. 



124 


BLESSED JULIE BILLIART [April 8 

had no knowledge whatever of the Plot until it was made “ public to all 
the world.” As hatred of the Catholic religion alone was obviously the 
reason of his death, the cause of Fr. Oldcorne has been included in 
theiist of the other martyrs whose names are being considered in Rome 
with a view to canonization, and the result may be awaited with confidence. 
In conclusion it may be said that the Venerable Edward Oldcorne was 
regarded as the establisher and director of “ nearly all the domestic churches 
in his locality ” (Foley: Records, xii. p. 843). These “ domestic churches," 
of course, are the private oratories of such old Catholic families as the 
Winters of Huddington, Lyttletons of Hagley, Berkeleys of Spetchley, 
Hornyholds of Blackmore Park, Baynhams of Purscll, and "Williams of 
Malvern, who so long kept the Mass and the Faith, generally, from be- 
coming extinct in Worcestershire and the adjacent counties. 

[Challoner: Memoirs of Missionary Priests, vol. ii. Foley: Records 
of the Eng. Province, S.J., vols. ix. and xii. David Jardine: A 
Narrative of the Gunpowder Plot. (London, 1857.) Lingard ; 
History of England, vol. vii. Cath. Record Society, Miscellanea, 
vol. vii. Gillow: Bibliographical Dictionary of the English 
Catholicsil 


APRIL 8 

BILLIART, THE BLESSED JULIE, FOUNDRESS OF THE 
CONGREGATION OF SISTERS OF NOTRE DAME 

(1751-1816) 

It was a common remark among well-informed, sympathetic publicists at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century, that after the overthrow of 
religion and settled government, the greatest disaster brought upon France 
by the Revolution was the almost entire destruction of the system of 
education that existed in 1789. Old France had more universities, colleges 
and schools than any other country in the world. The vast majority of 
these time-honoured, and generally very efficient, institutions were swept 
away by the Jacobins, and their material resources seized and squandered 
by the promoters of the new “ enlightenment.” But if the losses were 
enormous, the recuperative genius of the French character was never 
more conspicuously seen than in the restoration of the homes of learning 
that so speedily followed after the establishment of the Concordat (1802). 
Among the many and deservedly illustrious names associated with this 
noble work, that of Julie Billiart will ever stand forth conspicuous. Nor 
are the circumstances of her career less noteworthy than her achievements. 
The sixth child of a poor shopkeeper of Cavilly in Picardy, named Jean 



Aprils] BLESSED JULIE BILLIART 125 

Francis Billiart, and his wife, Marie Louise Antoinette Debraine, she was 
born 1 2 th July, 1751. She only received a common education at the 
village school kept by her uncle, Thelbault Guilbert, but her youthful piety 
was such, that she was allowed to make her first Communion at the age 
of nine. The usual age for this ceremony at that time in France — no doubt 
owing to the influence of Jansenism — was about the age of twelve, but 
apart from her solid piety, Julie was no ordinary child. She aided her 
parents strenuously and cheerfully in their combined shopkeeping and 
agricultural work, and in her spare time gathered the children of the village 
about her and explained the Catechism to them. Then a seeming great 
misfortune occurred. One night in the winter of 1 774, a robber discharged 
a pistol into the house of the Billiarts, and the report so frightened the 
sensitive girl, that Julie henceforth for many years suffered from severe 
paralysis. Instead of repining, the now, apparently, hopeless cripple 
redoubled her prayers and spiritual exercises, received Holy Communion 
daily, and soon became known far and wide for the depth and wisdom of 
her conversation and the penetration of her perception. She supported 
herself as well as she could by making altar linen, and very soon her humble 
abode became the object of a sort of pilgrimage, many persons in spiritual 
and temporal trouble coming to seek the prayers and wise advice of “ the 
Saint of Cavilly,” as these zealous folk would persist in terming the poor 
invalid, to her great grief and manifest embarrassment. .Among those 
who conversed with her at this time were Monseigneur Francois Joseph 
de la Rochefoucauld, and his brother, the Bishop of Saintes, both of whom 
subsequently perished in the massacre at the Carmes, in September 
1792. After Ae interview, which took place at the episcopal palace, his 
Lordship said to the assembled ecclesiastical dignitaries: “This young 
girl seems to be inspired by God Himself. I shall be much surprised if 
we do not hear her spoken about later on ! ” During the Revolution, 
Julie had much to suffer from the “ Constitutional ” Curd — ^whom the 
revolutionary authorities had thrust upon the parish — and his republican 
abetters. She sojourned for a while at the Chateau of Gournay-sur-Arondre, 
and thence journeyed on to Compiegne, where she lived near the holy 
Carmelite nuns, who, in i 793 j went from their prison to the guillotine 
chanting the Te Deum — another glorious band of martyrs of holy Church.^ 
Julie Billiart’s next place of abode was Amiens, where she arrived in 
October, 1794, at the request of the Vicomtesse Fran^oise Blin de Bourdon, 
who was desirous of instituting some kind of good work that might h^p 
to restore religion and social sanity after the blood and nightmare o e 
recent “Terror” (1793-94)- The Viscountess herself had been m the 
hands of the Jacobins, and had only escaped the common -fate o ousan 
> See the account of the armeUte Num of Compiegne. martTis, under Julp i6th. 



126 


BLESSED JULIE BILLIART [April 8 

of so-called “ aristocrats,” by the death of the Arch-fiend, Robespierre 
himself. Not only was Julie installed in the house of her benefactress, 
but her room became a chapel where Holy Mass was said daily by a more 
or less disguised priest, the Abb6 Thomas. In spite of fiery harangues 
from unported demagogues, the planting of trees of liberty, and even 
an ominous parade of the awful “ Red Widow ” — the guillotine 1 — ^Amiens, 
thanks largely to its sturdy Norman common sense, had been less affected 
by the revolutionary madness than most towns of France. Still, the actual 
situation there was bad enough. From the official report of Jacques Silher, 
member of the Municipal Council of Amiens, we learn that most of the 
children of the city, owing to the absence of good schools or teachers were 
growing up in vice and insubordination. The writer bitterly deplored 
the loss of the excellent primary and secondary schools, which existed 
before the Revolution under religious teachers, where, for the most part, 
the instruction was free and open to all! The teachers, who have taken 
the place of the brothers and nims, continues our informant, were indiffer- 
ent to their work, often without moral character, and seemingly desirous 
only of making money “ The pious ladies who gradually formed a circle ” 
around the Viscountess, gradually came to learn the principles of the 
interior life from the saintly invalid, Julie Bellia^ and to love through her 
“ the cause of God and His poor.” These devout souls were powerfully 
aided by the wise counsels of P^re Joseph Desird Varin (1769-1850), of 
the famous “ P^res de la Foi,” one of the many new religious foimdations 
that arose during the Revolution itself. By the advice of Fr. Varin, and 
with the approval of the Bishop of Amiens, Mgr Demandolx, formerly 
Bishop of La Rochelle, a society was formed to promote the welfare of 
poor children, chiefly as to their religious and moral education. A school 
was opened in the Rue Neuve which soon became too small, and another 
and larger house was taken in 1806, in the Faubourg Noyon. The new 
foundation was much assisted by a certain Madame de Franssu — ^widow 
of the Messire Adrien Jacques de Franssu — ^who later established the 
“ Congregation of the Sisters of the Nativity ” for the education of girls.® It 
was about this time, too, that Julie Billiart at the conclusion of a Novena, 
was completely cured of her long paralytic malady and on 15th October, 
1804, she, together, vrith Frangioise Blin de Bourdon, Victoria Lebeu and 
Justine Garson, took the first vows in the Congregation of Sisters of Notre 
Dame.® The foundation had not been made without a severe trial. As in 

1 Darsa7, Amiens et le deparlement de la Somme pendant la 'Revolution, ii. 144, etc. 

* Jeanne de Croqnoison, Mme de Franssa (1751-1824), Foundress of the Congregation 
of the Nativitf, is regarded as one of the restorers of Christian education in France, There 
are two convents of the foundation in England, one at Eastbourne and the other, at 
Sittingbonme. 

* The Rule of the Congregation de Notre Dame was approved by Gregory XVI in 1844 



April 8] BLESSED JULIE BILLIART 127 

the case of St Alphonsus, who was abandoned by nearly all the early 
Redemptorists, so all the “ circle ” of devout ladies already referred to had 
fallen off one by one from Mfere Julie and M^:re St Joseph (Mme Blin), 
thus proving yet again that religious vocation is not given to every one, 
however spiritually minded. The Congregation not only vowed itself to 
the Christian education of girls, and the training of teachers, but further, 
held itself ready to go wherever its services might be required. No 
distinction was made between Choir-Sisters and Lay-Sisters, but in view of 
the increasing educational requirements of the age, and their very probable 
great extension in the future, much stress was laid, from the first, on the 
importance of turning out always a body of really well-equipped teachers 
— an ideal that has ever since been carefully maintained. Within ten 
years of its commencement, the foundation had already more than justified 
itself even from the point of view of those practical “ results ” which have 
such a fascination for the publicist and even the “ man in the street.” 
Houses existed in various parts of France and Belgium, notwithstanding 
the world-war which raged around the tottering throne of the imperial 
Colossus. On the 15th of January, 1809, the Mother-House was trans- 
ferred to Namur, owing to an unfortunate episode that occurred at 
Amiens. During the absence of Fr. Varin, the confessor of the nuns, 
the Abbd de Sambucey de St Esleve, with more zeal than discretion, en- 
deavoured to assimilate the Congregation to the ideals animating the ancient 
orders of women, regardless of the fact that times and requirements were 
utterly changed! Rather than see nearly the whole object of the Congrega- 
tion destroyed. Mother Julie resolved to leave Amiens and go to Ghent, 
where the Bishop, Mgr Jean Maurice de Broglie, greatly wished to have a 
branch of the, by now, well-known teaching order.^ The new Mother-House, 
as the “ branch ” at Namur soon became, was quickly regarded as something 
more than a centre of excellent collegiate education. The saintly character 
of Mother Julie and her magnetic influence, exercised by voice and pen, 
soon had their effect over countless souls, and became, in fact, a real 
“ apostolate.” The departure of the nuns from Amiens was regarded 
as something of a calamity by the Bishop of that city. Mgr. Demandolx, 
and his advisers, who did all they could to retain Madame Julie in their 
midst, but as she said in a letter to M. de Sambucey, the cause of all the 
trouble: “ My Bishop is at Namur, and my choice is madel I hope God 
will bless it, for my intention is upright.” The last years of the Foundress 


1 The Bishop (1766-1821) was the son of the famous Marshal Due de Broglie w o 
advised a “ whiff of grape-shot ” — “ pour la canaille il faut la mitraiBel —as a s ^ ? 

cure for the rising Revolution, or rather the anarchic part of it. The remedf.un o f 

was not applied till 1799, when Bonaparte used it with complete success on e 
sought to revive the disorders of 1791-1792 and die carnage of i 793 -t 794 - 



128 


BLESSED GEORGE GERVAISE 


[April ii 

were clouded by two anxieties, war and severe illness, Belgium, which in 
1814-15, became once more the “ cockpit of Europe,” saw its territory 
overrun by the French and allied armies, but happily no harm came to 
the convents of the religious, and the result of the ever-memorable cam- 
paign was the establishment of a peace for the country that was not to be 
seriously disturbed for a hundred years. In January, 1816, seven years after 
her quitting Amiens, Mother Julie was taken ill, and after three months 
of suffering borne with the patience and resignation begotten of years of 
real devotion and submission to God’s will, she died sweetly in the Lord, 
just after repeating the sublime heart-pourings of the Magnificat^ on 8 th 
April, 1816. The fame of her holiness which had commenced even 
with her early childhood, increased all during the nineteenth century, 
and finally in 1881, the long-delayed cause of her beatification was intro- 
duced at Rome. It was completed in 1906, when Pius X enrolled her 
venerable name among the Blessed. Of the numerous houses of the 
Congregation de Notre Dame in England, the most famous is that for the 
training of school-mistresses at Mt. Pleasant, Liverpool, the management 
of which was entrusted to the Sisters by the Government in 1856. The 
“ Centre-System,” or concentrated instruction of pupil-teachers, which the 
Sisters introduced, is now adopted by all the more important education 
committees in this country. 

\Lije oj Blessed Julie Billiart, by a Sister of Notre Dame. (London 
1909.) Much information also in Madame de Franssu Fonda- 
trice de la Congregation de la Nativite de N,S., by the Abbd 
L. Cristiani. (Avignon Aubanel Frferes, 1926.).] 


APRIL II 

GERVAISE, O.S.B., THE BLESSED GEORGE, PRIEST, 

MARTYR 

(1571— 1608). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

XvIaybs, from the fact that his father, John Gervaise, Esq., of Bosham, 
Sussex, had married a lady of the knightly family of the Shelleys of Michel 
Grove, the Rev. G. Gervaise is sometimes, but erroneously, styled Sir 
George.1 This surname is also occasionally spelt “Jervis.” Having 
been left an orphan at the age of twelve, he was, when nearly fourteen 
years of age, seized by a pirate— said to have been an ex-officer of one of 

1 The ShellcTS of Michel Grove were Catholics down to 17 1 5, when Sir John Shelley, fourth 
Baronet, conformed to the Established Church. He died 1771. Percy Bysshe Sh^ey the 
poet belonged to the younger branch, the Shelleys of Casde-Goring. 



April II] BLESSED GEORGE GERVAISE 129 

Sir Francis Drake's ships— and taken to the West Indies. The Channel 
at that time, and indeed for many years afterwards, swarmed with Corsairs 
and the craft which missed the English or French filibusters, was almost 
certain of “ falling in with a Salee Rover.” It is not surprising that young 
Gervaise soon lost every bit of religion he had among the lawless characters 
then afloat. After about twelve years spent in raids on Spanish ports 
and other sharp encounters with the ” Dons,” he returned to Europe. 
His elder brother, Henry, a devout Catholic, having found the burdens 
of the penal laws intolerable, had retired to Flanders, and George, who, 
now after his long absence, paid him a visit, was led through his con- 
versation and example, and the instructions of a good priest, to return 
to the practice of his religion. A “ vocation ” about this time manifested 
itself, and he was admitted to the English College, Douay, 1595. There 
the young ex-seaman spent eight years in the study of classics, philosophy 
and divinity. He was confirmed and given the tonsure by the Lord 
Bishop of Namur, 4th August, 1600 {Third Douay Diary), and in May, 
1603, the four Minor and two Major Orders {ibid.y The priesthood 
followed in ist June of the same year. On a6th August, 1604, he set out 
for England. The recent accession of James I had led to a relaxation of 
the penal statutes, and there was a distinct revival of Catholicism. The 
fiuy aroused by the discovery of the Gunpowder Plot, however, caused a 
fearful increase of persecution, and the Rev. George Gervaise, who is 
described as having been unwearied in his efforts to promulgate the Faith, 
was among the first to be arrested. The disposition of the Court had, happily, 
undergone a great change for the better. James, despite his own peculiar 
hierarchical pretensions, could never forget that his mother had been 
almost a martyr for the Catholic religion, while the Queen-Consort, Anne 
of Denmark, was secretly known to have a profound attachment to the 
old Faith. There was, therefore, “ a stay of execution,” as far as priests 
were concerned, and in June, 1 606, George Gervaise and a number of others 
were banished. After a short visit to Douay, he set off on a devotional 
pilgrimage to Rome, where he sought to enter the Society of Jesus, but 
was not accepted. On returning to Douay, he is stated to have received 
the habit of St Benedict at St Gregory’s Monastery. He stayed at Douay 
some months, and then on 2, i st September again left to return to England. 

Ever since the accession of James I there had been among Catholics 
a strong feeling that better times were at hand, and even the catastrophe 

' Under dat^ ist Februar7, 1 599 in the Snxnmary of the TiirJ Douay Diary there is 
a curious entry relating to the “ baptismal rites ” performed over sixteen students, including 
the Ven. George Gervaise. It is surmised that this entry relates to conditional baptism, some 
doubt of the actual reception of the sacrament having arisen, a serious matter in all cases, but 
especially so, where Church-students are concerned ! 



i3o VENERABLE GEORGE GERVAISE [April ii 

of the Gunpowder Plot did not entirely destroy that belief. The King, 
despite Sully’s well-known jibe, appears to have been generally humane 
and inclined to toleration, and when every one was crying out for a holocaust 
of papists after the awful November of 1605, the Scottish Solomon still 
kept his head, and differentiated between the guilty and the innocent. 
There had also long been talk of an “ Oath of Allegiance,” which Catholics 
could conscientiously take, and one actually appeared in 1 606. In it, un- 
fortunately, was a clause drawn up by Archbishop Bancroft of Canterbury, 
at the suggestion of Sir Christopher Perkins, a former member of the 
Society of Jesus, in which the tenet relating to the excommunication and 
deposition of princes by the Pope was to be regarded as “ impious and 
heretical ” — “ a damnable doctrine and position.” No one nowadays, 
as the Rev. Ethelred Taunton, the great literary foe of the “ Society,” 
points out, “ holds in practice the doctrine of the deposing power, direct or 
indirect, of the Pope.”^ The reigning pontiff, Paul V, condemned the 
new oath, though in very general terms, as containing “ many things 
clearly opposed to faith and salvation.” Belief in the deposing power, 
as a fact, was almost dead, but to describe the principle as “ heretical and 
damnable ” was going altogether beyond the point. A controversy, of 
course, arose among the Catholic clergy on the lawfulness of subscribing 
the oath, and if the measure, as many assert, had been cunningly devised 
to divide the Catholic body in this country, it certainly effected its purpose. 
The King is said to gave grown very hostile towards his Catholic subjects 
about this time, and three years later is described as meditating their 
“ extermination ! ” ^ At any rate, the obnoxious oath was tendered to many 
persons in England, often, it seems, by itinerant pursuivants of very violent 
character, and among those called upon to swear, was the Rev. George 
Gervaise. He refused for the reasons given above, and after the usual 
trial and sentence at The Old Bailey, was executed at Tyburn, i ith April, 
1668. His whole history presents a uniform picture of fidelity to con- 
science, and a generous disposition to pursue duty, however difficult. 
This last trait was strikingly shown when leaving for this country for the 
last time. His brother in Flanders, knowing the dangers of missionary 
life in England, sought to keep his near and dear relative at home by 
procuring for him a benefice in Lille, a favour which, however, was affec- 
tionately declined, with the result as recorded. 

' His/sry of tkt 'Jesuits in England. In a sermon preached hy Pius IX, that genial pontiff 
is reported to have said : “ No one now thinks any more of the right of deposing princes which 
the Holy See formerly exercised, and the Supreme Pontiff even less than any one.” From 
a Sermon of Pins IX quoted by Cardinal Soglia. <Addis & Arnold, ^ Catholic Dictionary, 
7th ed., p. 281.) 

* This was reported by Father Edward Coffin. Father E. Taunton describes this as 
“hear say” {History of the Jesuits in England, pp. 360-61). 



Apwl 13] BLESSED JOHN LOCKWOOD 13 1 

[Challoner: Memoirs, ii. p. 36. Douay Diaries, i. and ii. History oj 
the Jesuits in England, by Ethelred Taunton. (London: 

Methuen & Co., 1901.) Gillow; Bibliographical Dictionary, 
vol. ii.] 

APRIL t3 

LOCKWOOD, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 
(’^555“^642). Beatified Dec. 1929. 

Much doubt covers the exact date of the birth of this staunch Yorkshire 
priest, but if the Douay Diary be correct, and the year of the Martyr’s 
birth was 1555, then the Rev. John Lockwood must have been the oldest 
of that goodly band, which between 1577 and 1681 died in witness of the 
Catholic Faith. He was the eldest son of Christopher Lockwood, Esquire, 
of Sowerby, Yorkshire, his mother, Clare, being the daughter of Chris- 
topher Lascelles, Esquire, of Sowerby and Brackenbury, in the same 
county. As eldest son and heir, John Lockwood could look forward to a 
considerable landed estate, and an income of four hundred a year, a sum 
fully equal to five thousand pounds at present. But resigning these pro- 
spects to a younger brother, he, with another brother, Francis, crossed 
the sea where both were admitted as church-students at Douay, and later 
migrated with the rest of the staff and scholars to Rheims. In October, 
1595, John went to the English College, Rome, where, under the maternal 
name of Lascelles, he was ordained priest on 19th January, 1597. He 
came to England in 1598, and for forty-four years laboured chiefly in the 
•north, doing much good, fortifying the resolution of Catholics wavering 
under the trials and sufferings of the penal laws, and reconciling many 
persons to the ancient Faith. He was imprisoned and banished in 1610. 
Bravely continuing his apostolic labours, he was again seized and sentenced 
to death, but obtained a reprieve, and after lying for some time in prison, 
was discharged at the request, it is said, of the Queen, Henrietta Maria. 
After this second escape, he lived in retirement as Chaplain to an old lady, 
named Mrs Bridget Gatenby of Wood End, Gatenbury, Yorkshire. Here 
he might have remained in peace, but the times were evil, and the Civil 
War was at hand. It was no small part of the political tactics of the power- 
ful Puritan opposition to hold up the King as a secret abetter of “ popery,” 
and every reprieve that Charles I ventured to grant in the case of priests, 
was met wiA fierce denunciations, both of the Court, and, of course, 
everything Catholic. The tracking down of priests, which had been 
more or less in abeyance, 1625-40, now became fearfully prevalent. There 
was at that time in the North Riding of Yorkshire, a renegade Catholic, 
Cuthbert Langdale, no doubt an unworthy scion of the baronial family, 



,32 BLESSED JOHN LOCKWOOD [April 13 

the Langdales of Holme Hall, famous alike for their fidelity to Catholicism 
and the Royalist. Cause ^ The Rev. John Lockwood was cultivating his 
garden at Gatenby, when Langdale and his myrmidons rushed in and 
made the old priest a prisoner. The age and inofFensiveness of the accused, 
and the circumstances of the arrest, caused much indignation in the dis- 
trict among both Catholics and the more kindly-disposed Protestants. 
The same resentment was felt at York when Langdale arrived at the 
Castle there with his aged captive on horseback. So far from feeling any 
animosity, however, against his wretched betrayer for his infamous conduct, 
the old priest on taking his leave of the renegade gave him an “ angel ” for 
his trouble, and also a further sum of five shillings for his assistant. The 
days may have been evil, but they produced great sportsmen 1 In York 
Castle, tie Rev. John Lockwood had the company of another priest, the 
Rev. Edmund Catterick, alias Huddlestone, who had been then some 
seven years on the Mission after leaving Douay (1635). He had been 
arrested at the instance of his own uncle — it is said — a Justice of the Peace, 
who caused him to be seized in his own house, while there under the 
pretext of a visit of friendship I At the ensuing York Assizes, both priests 
were sentenced to death, but they certainly would have been reprieved 
had it not been for the clamour of the Parliament. Charles felt the utmost 
reluctance to proceed to extremity, but the threats and expostulations 
increasing in violence, the condemned were sacrificed, as Strafford had 
been the year before. The King and his Court, including the little Prince 
of Wales, were actually staying at York, when the two priests on their 
hurdles passed through the streets on their way to death. At the gallows, 
Fr. Lockwood, seeing his younger companion somewhat perturbed by the 
terrible apparatus of death, turned to the Sheriff and said; “ Mr Sheriff, 
under favour the place is mine. I am his senior by many years, with 
leave, I challenge it as my right to mount the ladder first.” Then with 
the aid of two of the executioners, he mounted the cart, pausing to ask 
Fr. Catterick how he did? “In good heart,” came the answer, “blessed 
be God, and ready to suffer with constancy the death Providence has 
allotted me.” After addressing various edifying words to the crowds, 
Fr. Lockwood exclaimed: “Jesus, my Saviour, Jesus, my Redeemer, 
receive my Soul, Jesus be to me a Jesus.” Fr. Catterick, having reminded 
the people that both he and his colleague were condemned solely on account 
of their priesthood, and after adding earnest prayers for the King and 

* Sir Mannadake Langdale, fint Baron Langdale of Holme (1598-1661), commanded the 
left wing of the Royal Army at Maiston Moor, 1644. He was a most gallant, yet wary cavalry 
leader, and had Prince Rupert only followed his prudent advice, the issue of the -war would, 
no doubt, have been far different. He is said to have lost ^160,000, about one million pounds 
sterling present currency, in the cause of Charles I. 



April i6] ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE 133 

Royal Family, especially that the dissensions between the Court and Parlia- 
ment might end, both good Fathers were flung off the ladder. For some 
time the hangman refused to proceed with the quartering, being quite 
against the horrid butchery, until seized by the Sheriffs officers and 
compelled to do his hateful business. He then fell to like a madman, 
cutting and slashing the bodies, and flinging the blood about over the 
crowd ! Fr. Lockwood’s head was placed on a spike over Bootham Bar, 
York, and the sight of it, as he rode through the gateway, must have 
caused the King feelings better imagined than described 1 

[Gillow: Bibliographical Dictionary oj the English Catholics^ iv. 

Challoner: Memoirs^ ii. Catholic Record "Society, vol. x.] 


APRIL 16 

ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE, CONFESSOR 
(1748-1783) 

Our Saviour’s prophetic words, “ For the poor you have always with you ” 
{St Mark xiv. 7), have often been forcibly brought home to each succeeding 
generation by scenes and incidents, many of them not wanting the element 
of the dramatic. The. poor, as the chief of the material treasures of -the 
Church — a similitude which so enraged the Prefect of pagan Rome under 
Valerian against St Lawrence — is one of these, and all through the ages 
the work of aiding and consoling the needy, has been regarded as one of the 
noblest of the deeds of mercy, as it is, doubtless, one of the most picturesque. 
The presence of poor people in such numbers in Catholic Churches has long 
been remarked, and, indeed, their permanent absence would make many of 
the better-off section of the congregation think that there was something 
wrong. Their presence is a constant reminder of the divine prophecy 
referred to, and also of that second statement from the same holy source : 
“ The poor have the Gospel preached unto them ” {St Matt. xi. 5). It is most 
fitting, therefore, that this never-ending evidence of our poor mendicant 
brethren, as such, should be represented among the canonized Saints of 
the Church. Of course, all the Saints practised poverty in spirit, but in 
St Benedict Joseph Labre, whom we are now about to consider, we have a 
concrete representative of the poor who traditionally crowd the entrances of 
the churches, and upon whom the alms of the charitable are bestowed. 

Like so many of those who have been raised to the altar in the last 
two centuries, St Benedict Joseph was French. He was born at Amettes 
near Boulogne, 26th March, 1748, being the eldest of fifteen children of 
Jean Baptist Labre, a small shopkeeper, and his wife, Anne Grandsire. 



134 ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE [AprilT6 

Young Benedict Joseph, like the rest of his brothers and sisters, probably 
received the rudiments of his education partly at home and partly at the 
parish school, one of the thousands of excellent parochial schools which 
miade the France of Pre-Revolution days perhaps the best instructed country 
in the world. As a boy, Benedict Joseph, though very amiable, was already 
remarkable for seriousness of character. He practised to an eminent 
degree those habits of self-restraint, which ascetical writers term “ morti- 
fication ” — that constant repression of the lower man which is the almost 
certain presage of a life of distinguished sanctity. Joined to this was a 
great horror of all that was positively wrong or whatever led up to it. As 
all this pointed to a probable religious vocation, young Labre was sent 
at the age of twelve to commence classical study under his paternal uncle, 
the Abbe Francis Joseph Labre, who was Curd, or parish priest of Erin. 
It has been represented in some quarters that Benedict Joseph was little 
better than a devout dolt, who was simply incapable of acquiring higher 
instruction. This is entirely incorrect. The future pilgrim-saint was both 
a diligent and intelligent student, and his Latin reading, after the elements 
of the grammar were mastered, embraced the well-known “ Historia Sacra ” 
and the usual “ Excerpta ” from the various classical authors read, then 
as now, in schools. To this was added a course of history, the ancient 
portion, no doubt, from Rollin’s famous work which, in the original or 
translations, taught the annals of Greece and Rome to half the world, 
including Frederick the Great. But though no dunce, Benedict Joseph 
was no lover of mere learning as such. A close reader all his life of the 
Imitation of Christ, he had even at this early stage learned thoroughly the 
meaning of such passages as, “ Woe to them who inquire of men after 
many curious things ; and are little cxirious of the way to serve Mel” (Bk. 
iii., ch. 43). His yearning for solitude, ardent love of austerity, and 
habitual union with God, made the hours spent in the acquisition of 
purdy secular knowledge appear a sheer waste of both time and oppor- 
tunity. Joined to this desire for austere personal holiness, was also an 
abounding charity for his neighbour’s spiritual and temporal welfare. He 
assisted his uncle, as far as he was competent to do so, in the work of the 
, parish, teaching the children their Catechism, reading to the sick and 
diffusing throughout the peasant families of the place that “atmosphere ” 
of the Faith which is so powerful a preservative of religion. The people 
loved and venerated the holy youth, and the Princess de Croy — ^member 
of one of the most illustrious families of Pre-Revolution France — ^used to 
style him, “ Mon petit Cure.” Young Labre’s zeal was conspicuously 
shown during the plague that devastated Erin and district, and when his 
xmcle, the Abb^ Labre, died, a martyr of charity during the infection, the 
nephew went to live with another uncle, the Abb6 Vincent. This holy 



April i6] ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE 135 

priest, whose life resembled that of the St Cur^ d’Ars in the succeeding 
century, was a man after Benedict Joseph’s own heart. The pair shared a 
miserable living-room and the roughest fare, giving all that was best in the 
matter of food and drink to the poor. Meanwhile, our Saint was reaching 
man s estate, and it was necessary for him to decide upon some vocation, 
either the cloister or the secular priesthood. His own predilection had been 
the severe Order of La Trappe, but in deference to the wishes of his parents, 
who feared that such a rigorous rule would prove too hard for their some- 
what delicate son, he chose the Carthusians, but without success. He 
then applied to the Trappists at Neuville, and was told to study logic and 
plain chant before seeking for admission. This he did with but small 
progress, but in spite of this, was, after the prescribed period, accepted as a 
novice together with a friend. Benedict Joseph performed all the obliga- 
tions of his new “ life ” with the greatest exactitude, but the growth of 
scruples and the increasing manifestation of a certain want of fitness for 
regular religious life, convinced his superiors that he had no vocation, and 
he left the monastery where he was already regarded as “ a saint,” though 
of a different type of sanctity from that laid down by the rule of La Trappe. 

It is just at this period of Benedict Joseph Labre’s extraordinaiy career, 
that those who aspire to write his biography, however brief and imperfect^ 
find themselves confronted by the greatest difficulties in the matter of 
accounting for the almost unique phenomenon afforded by his subsequent 
life. Here was a young man of astonishing holiness, having no suitability 
for secular pursuits of any sort, yet not adapted, apparently, for either the 
priesthood, or any of the religious orders. “ The Spirit,” however, 

” breatheth where He will ” (St John iii. 8), and, doubtless, even before 
he got his kindly demission from La Trappe, Labre’s choice was irre- 
vocably made. The race of “ vagrom men ” is not habitually regarded 
over here with general favour, though, be it remembered, it is the so-called 
Reformation that has chiefly impressed the traditional dark stigma on the 
wandering class. The poor and unfortunate, so ruthlessly cast into abject 
wretchedness by the loss of the ever-friendly Abbeys and Priories, were 
naturally viewed by the greedy, upstart robbers of the monastic lands 
as a constant reminder of their own villainy, and of the awful social misery 
it had entailed. Hence, the genial laws of the whipping-post, fetters and 
branding irons of Edward VTs time, and the only few degrees milder 
enactments of later reigns. But over a large part of the Continent, at 
least, until the time of the Revolution, the needy wayfarer was generally 
considered as a representative of “ God’s poor,” to be helped and com- 
forted as dear Oliver Goldsmith found in his romantic, penniless journey- 
ings through France and Italy, 1754-56. So Benedict Joseph’s resolution 
was to become a “ tramp,” not as a means of lazy, aimless wandering and 



^36 ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE [April i6 

low self-indulgence, but to travel on foot from shrine to shrine as a 
pilgrim of eternity, edifying the devout by his piety, and shaming the 
selfish and luxurious by his constant and wonderful humility and morti- 
fications. For some eight years (1770-1778 ?) this extraordinary rover 
in the cause of religion, traversed most of South-west Europe. His first 
visits were to Loretto and Rome, and he made it his custom to visit “ beautiful 
Rome,” as he called the Eternal City, every year. It was at the Church 
of St Romuald at Fabriano that Benedict Joseph returned to the doubtless, 
astonished Sacristan half the dole given him, with the words : “ It is too 
much! Poor people ought to live by the alms they procure daily! ” This 
was his invariable rule, and when some charitable gift exceeded, as he 
thought, what was necessary for his own slender wants, he always gave 
the greater part of it to someone whom he considered worse off than him- 
self. In such estimation did this wholly remarkable pilgrim come to be 
held that the people of the various towns and localities periodically visited 
by him, looked for his return as a much expected annual event. At Bari, 
the townsfolk rose up against a graceless fellow who insulted “ their 
pilgrim,” and at Compostella, equal respect was shown to the “ pelegrino 
santo.” Labre did not fail to visit “ Paray-le-Monial,” already famous as 
the cradle of the more modern devotion to the Sacred Heart, and the 
Chapel where St Margaret Mary had received her consoling visions and 
messages, soon ranked in his regard with Loretto, Assisi, and other sacred 
shrines. It was probably while journeying on one occasion to Paray 
that St Benedict Joseph was entertained at a farmhouse near Lyons, by a 
certain worthy farmer, Matthieu Vianney, and Marie Baluze, his wife, 
and in the room of the house where the holy wanderer passed the night, 
the future St Cur^ d’Ars was born, 8th May, 1786, some three years after 
Benedict Joseph had passed to his reward. 

But if the Saint had his earthly consolation in the shape of much kind- 
ness and respect^ he had, of course, his trials. The life he had chosen with 
its constant exposure to the elements, its hunger and thirst and weariness, 
was all a form of the “ cross ” to be daily reckoned with, and to these were 
added occasionally the sufferings arising from men. At Moulins, in France, 
he was imprisoned for a while under suspicion of a share in a robbery that 
had occurred in the district, and then ids half-ragged and generally odd 
appearance often exposed him to both ridicule and even ill-usage. He 
usually wore what had once been a Trappist’s habit, but which, in 
time, became a mere “ thing of shreds and patches,” and to this was added 
an old cloak and girdle. A rosary aroxmd his neck, and a wallet containing 
a few necessaries and some books, such as the Breviary and the Imitation 
of Christ, completed the bizarre outfit of this strange-looking traveller. 
His Chinese-like features, tall emaciated frame, and long delicate hands, were 



April i6] ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE 137 

also somewhat remarkable. But jibe and jeer, or even praise were lost on one 
who lived in a continual union with God, and whose haunting fear seems to 
have been that he might not be included among the “ fewness of the elect.” J 

About 1778, Benedict Joseph went to live permanently in Rome, then 
under the beneficent rule of the large-hearted and splendid-looking Pius VI. 
The Romans, while praising the museums and admiring the superb 
collections of medals and antiquities therein — all owing to the antiquarian 
zeal and public spirit of the Pope — ^were grumbling much at the increase 
of taxation, owing to the cost of these and also the draining of a large part of 
the Pontine Marshes, then in progress. “ Money, the Dead, and Cardinals ” 
are proverbially objects of affection or admiration with the Italians. Touch 
any of these and a social sirocco is almost certain to arise. But Benedict 
Joseph took little account of the then simmering discontent in the Alma 
Urbs, which “ every intelligent foreigner ” found so full of contradictions 
— magni&cent churches, stately palazzos, tortuous streets, gay colours, 
and squalid rags. Benedict Joseph, however, must have found himself 
quite at home among the scores of beggars, whom artists thought so 
“ Salvator Rosa ’’-like, and whom economists rated as so incurably idle. 
Most visitors to Rome during the eighteenth century were also puzzled 
at the paradox presented by the great dislike of the fashionable classes 
for odori, even choice scents such as attar of roses and lavender-water, 
and their apparent indifference to the sickening stenches from open sewers, 
which, not infrequently, disturbed the Rousseau-like reveries of northern 
sentimentalists amidst the classic and ecclesiastic grandeurs and memories of 
the then Garden City ! * These shocks to the olfactory nerves of the Quality, 
however, were used by our Saint as an additional form of penance, so 
completely dead was he by this time to every kind of personal gratification. 
He was assiduous in visiting the churches, and never missed any of the 
great functions and feasts. During the Holy Week of 1779, he might 
have noticed in the Church of Sancta Maria in Trastevere, an elderly, but 
distinguished-looking, personage dressed in black, with the “ George ” 
and Ribbon of the Garter, deep in devotion before the Madonna de Strada. 
The attendant Cavalieri, or the whisperings of the migratory congregation, 
would havp informed him that it was // Re — none other than the titular 
Charles III of Great Britain and Ireland, but whom his own ” subjects ” 

J Among the booh read by the Saint as a 807, was an apparently gloomy treatise by P^e 
Aveogle, on the difficulties of Salvation, which work, no doubt, exactly suited the spiritual 
pessimism of the time and the prevailing Jansenism which so largely caused it. Such books, 
however, while not for all, have their merits in drawing serious attention to a subject of para- 
mount importance, and, in any case, Fr. Aveugle’s dissertation helped to shape the career of out 
extraordinary Saint. 

* G/mpsrf of Italian Society in the Eighteenth Century. From the Journey of Mrs Ptozzs. 
(London: Seeley & Co. Ltd., 1892.) 



x38 ST BENEDICT JOSEPH LABRE [April i6 

styled II Preniendente 1 In the course of the last years of his life in Rome, 
Benedict Joseph lodged in various humble abodes, now in a cellar near 
the Quirinal, then by the ruins of the Colosseum — ^where Gibbon heard 
the distant chanting of the Friars while musing on the glory that was 
Rome’s — and finally and permanently, as an inmate of the Saint Martin’s 
Night Shelter. Though “sleeping out” is a very different experience 
in Italy from what it is in our cold, variable climate, no doubt, even the 
most ascetic of us likes to think that this weary, worn sojourner among 
many men and cities found a more or less homelike shelter at last. It 
was fitting, however, that one whose whole life almost was spent in visiting 
shrines and churches should have been seized with his last illness in the 
Church of Santa Maria in Monte while hearing Mass there on the 
Wednesday of Holy Week, 1783. He was removed to the house of a 
butcher, named Francesco Zaccarelli, who had been very kind to the 
wonderful Frenchman, and in the abode of this obscure tradesman, in 
the Via dei Serpenti, the soul of Benedict Joseph Labre passed to its re- 
ward. The marvellous career of the celebrated pilgrim was already familiar ^ 
to all Romans, and on Holy Thursday vast crowds attended the remains 
of the deceased, as arrayed in the habit of the Carmelite Confraternity of 
St Martino, these were conducted to the Church of the Madonna de Monte, 
there to lie in almost regal state. Cardinals, princes, bishops, priests, 
religious and lay persons of every rank thronged the Church to gaze upon 
“ II Santo,” and implore his intercession. On the eve of Holy Saturday, 
the body, enclosed in two cofiins, was interred beneath the high altar. 
At the requiem that day, Latin eulogies of the wonderful mendicant were 
pronounced by Fr. Mariani and a certain Doctor del Pino. The title 
Venerable was conferred on Benedict Joseph by Pius VI, i8th February, 
17943 probably nothing but the French invasion of Rome and the 
long revolutionary and Napoleonic Wars prevented his speedy beatification. 
That was pronounced by Pius IX, who had a great devotion to the holy 
wanderer, on the 20th May, i860. It was reserved for Leo XIII, who 
represented so much that was great and striking in Catholic erudition and 
philosophy, and who ever showed himself the true champion and friend 
of the proletariat, to pronounce the Canonization of this humble soul, 
whose surprising love of God had found so unique and cmrious an ex- 
pression. This crowning event in the history of the Saint took place, 
8th December, 1881, on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception of Our 
Lady, whose devout client he had been during the years of prayer and 
pilgrimage that were only to end with entry into the true home of all the 
just. 

of St Benedict Joseph Labre began to appear very shortly 
after his death. That by Marconi, his confessor, published 



April ly] 


VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 139 

in -1785, records some 136 miracles alleged to have been 
wrought through the Saint’s intercession. Most of these 
relate to bodily cures. An English edition of this biography 
is said to have materially helped in the conversion of the 
Rev. John Thayer (1755-1815), the holy, but somewhat 
erratic, American missionary priest. There is a good sketch 
of the Saint by the Rev. Arthur Little, S.J., in the /m /5 
Messenger Series (Dublin, 1921). Many curious but, no 
doubt, authentic details are also given in a very hostile account 
of St Benedict Joseph, contained in the anti-clerical work, 
Rome: Its Princes^ Priests and People, vol. ii., by Fanny 
MacLaughlin. (London : Elliot Stock, 1885.).] 

APRIL 17 

HEATH, O.S.F., THE VENERABLE HENRY, MARTYR 

(1599-1643) 

A WRITER in the Tablet for 22nd January, 1887, was instrumental in 
making generally known the fact that Henry Heath, one of the best loved 
and most venerated of the English Martyrs, was born at Peterborough, 
on 16th December, 1599. His father, John Heath, and also his mother, 
were both Protestants. The status of the family is not mentioned, but 
as the subject of these remarks was sent to Cambridge to complete his 
studies, it may be presumed that the Heaths were of the better class. 
Henry, in 1617, entered St Benet’s College, founded in 1352, by the 
members of the Guilds of Corpus Christi and the Blessed Virgin Mary, 
but the College has long been more generally known under the title of 
Corpus Christi. He graduated B.A. in 1621, and M.A. a little later. 
His devotion to learning, especially of the classical and patristic kind, 
caused him to be appointed librarian of the College, a very congenial post, 
for the library of the place had been recently greatly enriched by the 
valuable collection of books and MSS. bequeathed by Archbishop Parker 
of Canterbury. The first primate of the Elizabethan hierarchy had been 
not only an indefatigable bibliophile, but had himself edited the works of 
/Elfric, Matthew Paris, and Giraldus Cambrensis, besides maintaining a 
whole array of printers, transcribers and engravers. Scholars of “ all 
persuasions,” therefore, owe a lasting debt of gratitude to the prelate who 
did so much to preserve the learning of past ages amidst the ravages of 
the Reformation. Among the later books added to the libraiy, was Dr 
William Whitaker’s reply to Cardinal Bellarmine—“ Praslectiones in quibus 
tractatur controversia de ecclesia contra pontificios, imprimis Robertum 



140 


VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 


[April 17 

Bellarniinum Jesuitam in septem quaestiones distributa.” This work 
appeared at Cambridge, in 1599, the year of Henry Heath’s birth, and 
it was long regarded as a trenchant reply to the famous Roman theologian, 
whose portly person and sweeping beard were already familiar to the 
masses of Europe and this country through the round, bulky stoneware 
“greybeard” jugs, called after his name — Bellarminesl The “ Prffi- 

lectiones ” were carefully studied by Mr Heath, who was accustomed 
to rise, both summer and winter, at 2 o’clock a.m., and begin his reading 
for the day. He was one of the few students who take the trouble to verify 
statements upon which great issues hang, and in following out this laudable 
practice, he soon found that many of the references to> and quotations 
from, the Fathers given by Whitaker, were either utterly incorrect, or 
related to matters not in question. It may have been that Whitaker had 
taken these passages from the “ Magdeburg Centuriators,” whose defici- 
encies in this respect, wilful or careless, had been so completely exposed 
by Cardinal Baronius. However this may have been, it seems difficult to 
credit the story that Bellarmine had such a great respect for the “ Pride 
and Ornament of Cambridge,” — as Churton terms the violendy Calvinistic 
Whitaker — as to keep his portrait suspended in his study 1 On the other 
hand, it may have been so, for the Cardinal Archbishop of Capua “ made 
war like a gentleman,” and the “ Prselecdones,” in view of the discoveries 
by Heath, and no doubt, other close inquirers, must have enhanced by 
contrast the value of his own erudite works. The patristic inaccuracies 
of Whitaker, joined to the existing controversies of the day between the 
rival “ schools ” of Archbishop Abbot and his future successor, Laud, 
involving, as they did, sharply contradictory doctrines and theories of 
Church government, all went to open Mr Heath’s eyes to the fundamental 
and everlasting principle of Authority. He began to question and to question 
openly the historical event that had cut off this country from the centre of 
Christendom, and left its religious establishment at the mercy of the secular 
power, and made it the- battle-ground of mutually destructive opinions! 
This change of sentiment soon came to the ears of the College authorities, 
and, to avoid imprisonment, Mr Heath left the University, and proceeded 
to London. His immediate intention now was to seek reconciliation with 
the Catholic Church. He applied for this purpose to the Spanish Am- 
bassador, but His Excellency, though habitually very kind to poor Catholics 
who sought his good offices, did not see his way to assist the utterly un- 
known stranger. No doubt the words “ Cambridge University,” and 
“ wish to become a Catholic,” put the experienced diplomat on his guard. 
The triple negotiations between James I, Philip III of Spain, and Pope 
Urban VIII, with reference to the proposed marriage of “ Baby Charles,” 
with the Infanta, were still in progress, and a strongly Puritan, and, there- 


VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 


141 


April 17] 

fore very hostile House of Commons, was watching the result. A con- 
version involving a notable member of the University, and in connection 
with the embassy of his “ Most Catholic Majesty,” would be sure to 
cause a violent explosion of anger in the Lower House, to be followed by 
a peremptory demand for the breaking off of the objectionable “ Spanish 
Match,” and an immediate and rigorous enforcement of the penal laws 1 
There are always two sides to every question, and we must consider all 
these contingencies before condemning too hastily the Marquis de Gon- 
domar for turning away even a future martyr for the Faith.^ Mr Heath’s 
next application to a native Catholic, Mr George Jerningham, of the 
ancient stock of Cossey, Norfolk, was even more unpropitious, for he was 
roundly called a spy, and repulsed with angry words. Here, again, the 
case calls for lenient judgment. The penal code was a fearful and ever- 
present thing, and false brethren were as rife under the first Stuart King 
as they were in the days of St Paul. In his perplexity, Mr Heath betook 
himself to prayer, especially to Our Lady, Auxtlium Christianorum. 
Shortly afterwards the very Mr Jerningham, who had behaved so roughly 
towards him, made amends by coming to his assistance, and putting him 
into communication with the Rev. George Fisher, generally known on 
the Mission as Gregory Musket or Muscott.® Mr Fisher, in due course, 
received his Cambridge catechumen into .the Church, and the Spanish 
Ambassador, being now assured of the genuineness of the new adherent 
to the troubled Church in England, stood good friend to the convert, 
giving him, among other things,’ a letter of recommendation to the Rev. 
Matthew Kellison, D.D., Rector of Douay. He was received very kindly 
at the English College, and settled down to study for the priesthood, but 
two of the Fathers of the Franciscan College of St Bonaventure in the 
same town, happening to come to the English College one day, Mr Heath 
felt such an attraction for the life of the Seraphic Order, that he got leave 
to apply for admission into it. He was received, and at the end of the 
usual year’s novitiate, duly professed. 

Both as student and graduate at Cambridge, Henry Heath had led a 


‘ Gondomar fs the Ambassador usually named in connection with this affair, though his 
tenure of office ended, 1621 — apparently just before the Ven. Henry Heath’s conversion. 

* The Rev. George Fisher, alias Musket, styled the Flos Cleri Anglicans (i58o?-i645), 
was originally a servant to the priests imprisoned at Wisbech Castle, where he and his brother 
were converted as boys. For this they were flogged publicly and put in irons. George studied 
for a time at Douay, but was ordained at the English College, Rome, 1606. The Bishop of 
Chalcedon made him one of his Canons, 1624, and after many years of missionary labour in 
England, including imprisonments and a sentence of death, he was banished. He succeeded 
Dr Kellison as Rector of Douay, 1641, and during his short rule of four years did much to free 
the place from debt, and to infuse a new and more enthusiastic spirit into both professors and 
students. He was buried in the Lady Chapel of St James’s Church, Douay. 



VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 


142 


[April 17 


life of great austerity, rising, as we have seen, very early and spending 
much time in prayer. His holy example had impressed itself on many of his 
contemporaries, and even before he quitted the University, several members 
of the College had preceded him in submitting to the Church, and of these 
one had joined the Society of Jesus, and three others the Franciscans. 

As a Franciscan, Henry Heath took the name of Brother Paul of St 
Magdalen, and if his life before had been one of remarkable holiness, its 
sanctity now became extraordinary. He fasted rigorously four or even 
five days a week, wore a hair shirt and iron girdle, took the discipline, 
and usually passed his few hours of nightly rest on the bare floor. Not 
content with the midnight Matins with the rest of the community, he 
often spent the rest of the early hours in private devotion till the time 
of prime. Part of this consisted in a long meditation and pious aspirations. 
He bound himself not only to renounce every unnecessary gratification, 
however harmless, but to serve others in their wants, and to be dead to 
their defects. 

While thus advancing far on the path of personal perfection, Fr. 
Henry Heath — to use the name by which he is generally known — ^was 
widely regarded both as a scholar of great learning and an able adminis- 
trator. For several years he filled the Chair of Dogmatic Theology in his 
Monastery, and was, moreover. Commissary of the English houses of the 
Order in Belgium. At the Fourth Provincial Chapter, held in April, 1 640, 
he was named Guardian of St Bonaventure’s, Douay, and Lecturer- 
Professor of the theological writings of tflat great Doctor of the Church. 

Fr. Heath did more than lecture and expound. He brought out 
in 1634, his long well-known Soliloquia seu Documenta Christianae Per- 
fectionis — Soliloquies or Documents of Christian Perfection, which 
reached a sixth edition at Douay in 1674, ^iid was reprinted by Dolman 
of London in 1 844. It reveals the sanctity of the future Martyr in a very 
strong light. He is also the author of about thirty other treatises on theo- 
logical subjects. These do not appear to have been printed, but they, 
were at St Bonaventure’s, Douay, as late as 1743, and may still be in 
existence. 

It was generally remarked during the days of persecution in this 
country, that whenever instances occurred of sentences of death for the 
Faith, great enthusiasm appeared to be manifested among the English 
students and priests abroad, who, so far from being deterred by the 
tragedy, seemed eager to emulate these glorious examples of zeal and 
constancy. In 1641, several priests, including the Franciscan Fr. 
Walter Coleman, were sentenced to death at The Old Bailey for exercising 
their priestly functions. Their fate long hung in the balance. The 
fanatical House of Commons, already in fierce opposition to the King over 



April 17] VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 143 

such matters as the “ Root and Branch Bill,” and the “ Grand Remon- 
strance, urged that the said priests ” be put to execution according to 
law.” The matter was referred back by Charles to the Commons — no 
doubt to gain time — and meanwhile the Civil War put an end to the 
incident. Nevertheless, eight other priests were put to death in other 
parts of the Kingdom for the same cause as those condemned in London. 

The example of Fr. Coleman and the other martyrs and confessors 
seems to have filled Fr. Henry Heath with a vehement desire to labour 
and die in England. He was now in his forty-third year, was doing an 
admirable work, not only at Douay, but far beyond its borders, and the 
Order was extremely reluctant to allow him to go forth on so hazardous 
a mission. Consent, however, was at length obtained, and he set out. 
His love of poverty was such that he declined the offer of secular attire 
which was made him, being content to have his Franciscan habit altered 
— as far as such apparel could be altered — into what resembled the dress 
worn by seafaring men at that time. He, likewise, refused the offer of a 
great German nobleman to defray his expenses to London. Humanly 
speaking, all this appears to have been a great mistake. The Civil War 
in England had now begun. Double vigilance was being exercised at 
all the ports to prevent not only the landing of ” Romish Priestes and 
Jesuites ” — that activity, of course, was only normal — ^but also foreign 
political emissaries and supplies of men, arms, and money for the King. 
Charles, moreover, was being denounced by the “ godly ” for fighting 
at the head of a “ popish army,” such numbers of Catholic lords and 
gentlemen had flocked to the royal standard. Every stranger, on landing, 
naturally aroused suspicion, and Henry Heath in his brown suit of out- 
landish cut, must have, indeed, been an object of, at least, curiosity all the 
way of his long tramp from Dover to London. On the last day of the 
journey, he walked forty miles along the wintry roads of Kent, arriving 
in town after nightfall, penniless and in a state of utter exhaustion, as 
may well be imagined. He was allowed to rest for a while at the “ Star ” 
Inn, Southwark, near London Bridge, but, having no means, had to leave 
about eight o’clock. He resolved to pass the night on the door-step of a 
house in the city, but the master, coming home late, took him for a would- 
be burglar, sent for a constable, and the weary stranger was imprisoned 
in the Compter. He was searched, and some Catholic writings, which 
were discovered sewn up in his cap, proved him to be a priest. 

The capture of Fr. Heath made a great stir, despite the fact that the 
Royalists were sweeping all before them, and London, generally strongly 
Puritan, was almost daily expecting an unwelcome visit firom Prince 
Rupert and his dashing Cavaliers. A Committee of the Commons actually 
went down to see and question the bold priest, who, it must be owned. 



144 


VENERABLE HENRY HEATH 


[April 17 

lived up to his reputation. Asked why he had come to England, he at 
once replied: “ to convert his countrymen from their sin and heresy — 
even the Protestant heresy, the Puritan heresy, the Anabaptist heresy, the 
heresy of the Brownists, and many others.” The Parliament men who 
were calling their sovereign “ Agag,” and his gallant supporters “ the 
Sons of Belial,” heard some counter plain-speaking on the religious con- 
fusion which was so largely responsible for the dissensions then rending 
the Kingdom. Fr. Heath was forthwith committed for trial. His case 
at The Old Bailey, under the 27 th of Elizabeth, for being a priest and 
returning to England, was but a short matter, for he freely acknowledged 
the same. After receiving, later on, sentence of death, he bowed to the 
Bench and said: “ My Lords, I give you thanks for the singular honour 
you have done me; for now I shall die for Christ.” He was allowed great 
latitude in the matter of visitors after his condemnation, and large numbers 
came to him for confession or consolation. Among these were numbers 
of the first quality. Catholic and non-Catholic ; also over forty Protestant 
ministers, several of whom spoke of him as a man of “ great parts and 
learning.” It was the custom in those days at The Old Bailey, and, indeed, 
until well into the nineteenth century, for the actual sentence of death to 
be pronounced on convicted prisoners not by the Judge who had presided 
at the trial, but some days afterwards by the Recorder of London. While 
awaiting the sentence of the law, Fr. Heath addressed a letter to the 
Guardian and Community of St Bonaventure’s, Douay, which contains a 
passage that reads like an extract from the Epistle of St Ignatius to the 
Christians of Rome: “ Let the executioners come, let them tear my body 
to pieces ! Let them gnaw my flesh with their teeth, let them pierce me 
through and through, and grind me to the dust. This momentary suffering 
will work a weight of glory in Heaven. Reverend Father, pray for me, 
a miserable sinner, that I may be always in the wounds of the Crucified, 
till death is swallowed up in victory.” When at Tyburn, on 17th April, 
1 643, he addressed the crowds, once more declaring that the only cause 
of his coming to England was that he ” might spend his life and labours 
in the conversion of his country.” Then, having passed about half an hour 
in meditation, and after reciting the hymn from the Office of St Anicetus, 
Pope and Martyr, whose feast it was, he uttered the famous prayer which 
has since found such an echo in the hearts of all who yearn for the return 
of Great Britain to the Faith of its fathers: “Jesus Convert England! 
Jesus have mercy on this country! O England turn thyself to the Lord, 
thy Godl ” . He died calmly, and the quartering, etc., were not proceeded 
with till after life was extinct. Among the great numbers present on this 
occasion were the Due de Gueldres (then Count Egmont) and M. de 
Marsys, an Attach^ of the French Ambassador. The servants of the 



April i8] BLESSED MARIE DE L’INCARNATION 145 

Duke collected some relics of the martyr, including various small bones, 
cloths soaked in the blood, and the rope of execution. Some of these are 
now preserved' in the Franciscan Convent at Taunton. 

The father of the martyr, Mr John Heath, became a Catholic after 
his son’s conversion, and going over to Douay, entered St Bonaventure’s 
as a lay-brother. There is a tradition among the Franciscans of the English 
Province, that the first intimation received at the Monastery at Douay 
of the martyrdom of the Venerable Henry, was through a vision that 
appeared to his aged father. That saintly old man died at Douay, 29th 
December, 1652. 

[Challoner: Memoirs, vol. ii. Gillow: Bihliographical Bictionary, Eng. 

Catholics. H. T. Bowden: Mementoes oj the English Martyrs^ 


APRIL 18 

MARIE DE L’INCARNATION (BARBARA ACARIE, 
nee AVRILLOT), THE BLESSED 
(i 566-1618) 

The Foundress of the Carmelite Order in France was born at Paris, ist 
February, 1566, and, like so many other great French religious, she be- 
longed to that high official class which, before the Revolution, formed the 
noblesse d' administration, her father, the Sieur Nicholas Avrillot, being 
Chancellor to Marguerite de Valois, whose ill-starred marriage with Henry 
of Navarre was signalized by the enormous tragedy of St Bartholomew. 
The mother of the future Foundress was Marie L’huillier, a descendant 
of the famous Etienne Marcel, City Provost of Paris, who played the 
part of a sort of exalted French Wat Tyler during the civic broils under 
John II. Barbara, as a girl, spent some years under the instruction of the 
nuns of the Poor Clare Convent at Longchamp, and it seems that she 
would have entered that Order but for the opposition of her family. In 
1584, she married M. Pierre Acarife de Villemor, a young gentleman of 
fortune, and a fervent Catholic, so fervent indeed, that he was foremost 
among the soldiers of the Catholic League, which certainly saved not 
only the traditional religion of France, but the country itself from the 
lasting anarchy of a divided state. Even after the knife of Jacques 
Clement had removed that Roi faineant, Henri Trois, and so indirectly 
paved the way for Henry of Navarre, Paris prepared to resist the Hugue- 
not King to the last ditch or rather faubourg. The fearful havoc wrought 
throughout the country by the militant Calvinist faction, and the readiness 
which its leaders had ever manifested to call in foreign armies to their 
aid, and even to barter away portions of the “ Sacred Soil ” for the sake of 
K 



146 BLESSED MARIE DE L’INCARNATION [April 18 

the gloomy “ la rdforme,” their creed, had greatly embittered the struggle, 
and made the vast majority of Frenchmen determined to suffer every 
hardship rather than' pass under the spiritual domination of Geneva and 
the temporal one of Elizabethan England. Pierre Acarih was one of the 
Committee of Sixteen which organized the resistance of Paris after Henry 
of Navarre’s victory over the Due de Mayenne at Ivry (1590). The final 
triumph of the good-natured conqueror — caused rather by his abjuration 
than the sword — brought in its wake temporary banishment for the most 
implacable of his foes, and among them the father of the subject of these 
remarks. He left Paris, and with it his private affairs in great disorder, 
a misfortune usually ascribed to his “ imprudence,” but which may well 
have been caused by the abnormal difficulties of the times, and the almost 
universal ruin of the individual, brought about by the age-long religious 
struggle. During the enforced absence of her husband from Paris, his 
young wife, with that practical business capacity so often to be met with 
in Frenchwomen, managed his affairs, arranging with his creditors and 
saving the remnants of the family fortune. All this time she was giving 
every maternal care to her young children, as well as attending to the affairs 
of her own soul, hearing Holy Mass almost daily, visiting the Blessed 
Sacrament, and setting aside a considerable portion of each day not re- 
quired for domestic or business duties, to spiritual reading. Like the 
devout matron of the liturgical Office, she “ extended her hand to the 
poor,” giving much that she personally could ill afford to spare, to relieve 
the wants of a class that had suffered, as usual, the most from the late 
wars and semi-anarchy. Like most of the Saints, she had her own peculiar 
trials. While on a journey about this time, she had the misfortune to fall 
from the pillion of her horse and sustained a very severe fracture, which 
a mistaken course of surgical treatment converted into a chronic and 
painful malady. If Ambroise Par^ was alive at this time, it may be pre- 
sumed that Mdme Acarife did not consult the magician of contemporary 
surgery 1 ^ The capabilities of Mme Acarife and her eminent piety made her 
house, in course of time, the centre of all that was best in the contemporary 
Catholic life of France. The Salon, that focus of gilded gossip and polished 
intrigue, was not, as yet, known as an institution of Paris, and even if it 
had been, the “ hotel ” d’Acari^ would have presented a very different 
Society from those which nearly a century later added so much splendour 
and sprightliness to the capital and reign of the Grand Monarque. The 
reception-room of Mdme entertained such grave and reverend personages 
as the saintly Mdme de Meignelay and Mme de Br^aute; the Chan- 

1 Ambroise Par^, whose discoveries revolutionized surger7, especiall7 military surgery, died 
20th December, 1590, aged about seventy-three. Like Claude Bernard (1813-1878), he was 
largely self-educated. 



April i8 ] BLESSED MARIE DE L’INCARNATION 147 

cellor de Marillac, whose niece founded the Sisters of Charity; St Vincent 
de Paul himself; and occasionally St Francis de Sales. The chief con- 
versation invariably turned on some spiritual or charitable topic, and 
there can be no doubt that much of the religious good which in the 
succeeding century so largely transformed France, had its remote inception 
in the ideas and suggestions that were so frequently mooted and discussed 
at these semi-spiritual re-unions. 

The nigh half-century of strife that had covered the country with 
ruins and filled the land with all kind of disorders, called for the great 
remedies of prayer, penance, and meditation. These were greatly expedited 
through the publication in r6oi, of the Ahhi de Breligny’s Life of St 
Theresa, translated from the Spanish original by Ribera. The work was 
much read, and “ chosen souls " found in the history of the great Car- 
melite Mystic that unction and consolation for which they had so long been 
yearning. Among these was Mdme Acarife herself, and it is stated that 
about this time she was favoured with those apparitions in which St 
Theresa herself bade her introduce the Carmelite Order into France. 
Mdme Acari^ humbly laid a full account of these extraordinary occurrences 
before her spiritual advisers, including St Francis of Sales, and the general 
opinion was that the proposed work was from God. A sort of holy en- 
thusiasm now manifested itself among the friends of Mdme Acarih, 
with the result that the Princess de Longueville generously offered to defray 
the cost of building the first house of the Order in France, the Convent in 
the Rue St Jacques, and on i8th July, 1602, the King, Henry IV, issued 
Letters-Patent authorizing the work.^ The undertaking, however, was 
beset with difficulties chiefly of a technical and internal kind. Among the 
Spanish nuns who came by invitation to Paris to start the new religious 
life, were seven nuns, among whom were Sisters Anne de Jesus and Anne 
of St Bartholomew, both of whom (since declared Venerable) had aided 
St Theresa so loyally in the work of her famous reform. The new arrivals 
established the Convent of the Incarnation in the Rue d'Enfer — an in- 
congruous name, surely, for the site of a religious house 1 — and such was the 
success of the foundation, that shortly afterwards, another Convent was 
opened at Pontoise, 15th January, 1605, and a third in September of the 
same year at Dijon. It was at this stage, however, that the difficulties 
referred to arose. The Abbd Peter de Bdrulle, later Cardinal, who had 
done so much to help Mdme Acarife to obtain the extension of the Carmelites 
to France, wished the Nuns to be governed by the Jesuits, and later, also by 
the Oratorians, in place of the Friars of the Foundation, and, for a time, 
there was considerable friction, during which Sister Anne de Jesus retired 

* The Bull of Institution was obtained from Pope Clement VIII, through St Francis of 
Sales, 23rd November, 1603. 



148 BLESSED MARIE DE L’INCARNATION [April i8 

to Brussels to found the Carmelite Convent there. In spite of these 
troubles, the Carmelites spread in France, so that by 1 6 1 8 they possessed 
in -that country no fewer than fourteen houses. As long as her husband 
lived, Madame Acarife kept her station in the world, contenting herself 
with aiding, by her prayers and wise counsels, the extension of the famous 
Order which she had done so much to bring into the religious life of her 
country. While attending assiduously to this great and exacting work, 
she was no less mindful of other needs. The famous Jesuit Father, Pere 
Coton, her friend and counsellor in spiritual things, had spoken of the 
Oratorians as “ necessary to France.” Madame Acari^ realized the con- 
crete meaning expressed in this phrase, and, with her wonted zeal, urged 
on the Abb6 de B^rulle, already mentioned, the necessity of introducing 
the Congregation of St Philip Neri into France. In November, i6ii, she 
had the happiness — a happiness also shared by St Vincent de Paul — of 
seeing the Oratorians formally installed in Paris. As adviser to the superiors 
of the Carmelite nuns in France in the early days of the foundation, 
Madame Acarife was often applied to by pious girls who believed they 
had a vocation. In many cases the applicants had a vocation, but not to 
the Carmelite Order. There was in France at that time great want of good 
schools where young ladies could receive an education proper to their 
station, yet combined with solid instruction in the Faith. In conjunction 
with her holy cousin, Madame de Sainte Beuve, Madame Acarife formed 
these rejected aspirants into a body of teachers for girls. The Hotel 
Saint-Andr€, a large house in one of the then suburbs of Paris, was taken 
as a high school, and placed under the direction of Nicoletta La Palletier, 
an experienced educationalist, who had founded a similiar school at Pontoise 
in 1 599. The expenses of the establishment at the Hotel Saint-Andr^ 
were generously defrayed by Madame Acarife. Her relative, the before- 
mentioned Madame Madeleine de Sainte Beuve, powerfully aided in the 
work, erecting at her own cost two additions to Saint-Andrd — z boarding 
school and a residence for the mistresses. Mother Frances de Bermond, 
of the Ursuline Convent, Marseilles, and the Foundress of the Order in 
France, was placed over the institution, which was intended to be an 
Ursuline Convent for Paris. Many young ladies of title — the De Vieux- 
ponts, D’Esigny, D’UrfS, De Marillac, etc., came forward as postulants, 
and on 13th June, 1612, the Bull of the Pope, Paul V, “ Inter Universa,” 
was issued, raising the Community of Saint-Andrd into a cloistered 
convent of the Ursuline Order. 

M. Acarih died a holy death in 1613. After his return from temporary 
exile, he had thrown himself heart and soul into his wife’s good works, 
and had shown himself in every way a splendid father to his family of three 
sons and three daughters. If his widow had deeply to deplore the loss 



April 19] BLESSED JAMES DUCKETT 149 

of such a husband, she had now the consolation of knowing that she was 
free to fulfil her heart’s desire, i.e,, the taking of the veil in the Order she 
had done so much to set up in France. Already, all her daughters were 
Carmelite nuns, and in 1616, she commenced her novitiate at the convent 
at Amiens, where one of these was then Sub-Prioress. True to the humility 
which had marked her whole life, she sought on this occasion “ the lowest 
place,” entering the house as a lay-sister under the title of Marie de I’ln- 
carnation.^ Her holy death occurred at the Carmelite Convent, Pontoise, 
1 8th April, 1618. She had long, as before observed, been regarded by all 
who knew her as a woman of extraordinary sanctity, and in addition to 
the wonderful spiritual favours already described, she was gifted with the 
sacred stigmata, or physical impressions of the holy wounds of Our 
Saviour.® The cause of her beatification was introduced at Rome as early 
as 1627, but it was not until 1791 that Pope Pius VI, amidst the ominous 
clouds that too truly heralded the approaching violence of the Revolution, 
signed the decree enrolling her name among the Beaia of the Church. 
Three years later an entire community of the Order, the famous Car- 
melite Nuns of Compiegne, were to add their names to the illustrious 
victims of the Jacobin Terror, and another glorious band of Martyrs to 
the ancient and most historic Church of France, which owes so much to the 
zeal and sanctity of the Blessed Mary of the Incarnation.® 

[De Broglie: La Bienheureuse Marie de rincarnation, Marie Acarii 
(Paris, 1903). Considerable information relating to the 
Ursuline episode, in St Angela Merici and the Ursulines, by 
Rev. Bernard O’Reilly. (London: Burns & Oates, 1880.).] 


APRIL 19 

DUCKETT, THE BLESSED JAMES, MARTYR 
(?-i6oi). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

While very much is due to Douay, Rome, Lisbon, and the other “ foreign 
seminaries beyond the Sea,” for keeping alive the Faith in these realms, 
both during the blood-stained and the bloodless epochs of persecution, 

' It was, no doubt, in honour of the Blessed Marie de I’Incamation, that her name in religion 
was assumed bj Marie Guyard-Martin, Foundress of the Ursuline Convent at Quebec. The 
remains of the gallant Marquis de Montcalm, General Wolfe’s opponent at the battle of Quebec, 
1759, are buried in the Convent Chapel. 

’ Dr Imbert, in his famous treatise on cases of Stigmata (Paris, 1894), includes the name ol 
the Blessed Marie of the Incarnation among the 3,21 well-estabUshed examples of this spiritual 
phenomenon. 

* For the Blessed Carmelite Nuns of Complete Martyrs, I 794 " 



1^0 BLESSED JAMES DUCKETT [April 19 

it must not be forgotten that the press played its part, not only in keeping 
the remnant loyal to its religion, but also in spreading among non-Catholics 
a knowledge of the truth. The period of the Censorship, 1530-1694, is 
generally regarded in this country as an age of stagnation, as far as printing 
is concerned. Printing was not only under a cloud, but under a very real 
kind of persecution, and the printer who, but for this, might have come 
to be regarded as a member of one of the learned professions, actually 
came to be looked down upon as “ a low fellow I ” Despite the ban, secret 
presses existed in England under Elizabeth as before mentioned,^ and 
many were the tractates and books that issued therefrom in defence of the 
Ancient Church. Among the printers who bravely ran the risk of fine 
and imprisonment in thus instructing a perverse generation, was James 
Duckett. He was the younger son of Mr Duckett, of Gilfortrigs, near 
Skelsmergh, Westmorland, his godfather being James Leyburne, Esquire, 
who suffered for the Faith at Lancaster in 1583. As the licensed presses 
were only found at York, London, and the two Universities, young Duckett, 
after leaving school, had to go to the Capital to learn his trade. While an 
apprentice, he read one of the current Catholic tractates already referred 
to — “ The Foundation of the Catholic Religion," and, like Gibbon, he 
read, applauded and believed. Up to this, our apprentice is described as 
having been very religious, often hearing three sermons a day, and that 
at a time when sermons, especially the Protestant ones, often lasted two 
hours at a delivery, and were full of quotations from the Old Testament. 
Being intellectually and spiritually convinced of the truth of the ancient 
worship, which was the object of so much misrepresentation and abuse, 
young Duckett stayed away more and more from the Parish Church. 
This being “ recusancy,” a very serious offence, he was soon in Bridewell 
for the same, but was ” bailed out ” by his good master. Relapsing again, 
he was sent to the Compter. Once more his employer generously came to 
the rescue, and the obstinate ’prentice was released. He was now allowed 
to buy off the rest of his term of service in the printing office, and putting 
himself under instruction with an old priest, named Weekes, in the Gate- 
house Prison, was received into the Church. 

Mr Duckett now turned his knowledge of printing and the book 
trade to account, and for several years he did much to disseminate Catholic 
literature among his sorely-tried co-religionists and honest inquirers, him- 
self suffering on and off imprisonments and other trials, such as fell to 
the lot of the active recusant in those days. He married a widow, but of 
the twelve years of their conjugal life, our printer spent about nine in 
gaol. He was last informed against by one Peter Bullock, a bookbinder, 
who though in durance for recusancy, apparently, nevertheless, hoped to 

» Seepp. 13 and 118. 



THOMAS TICHBORNE 


April 20J 


15* 


win favour by accusing one so obnoxious to the Government, Among 
the books found on Duckett’s premises by the officers of the law, was 
Fr. Robert Southwell’s Hutnhle Supplication to Her Majestic {Elizabeth), 
^S 9 S) against a more severe enforcement of the penal laws. This and 
another apologetic, Bristow’s Motives,^ were alleged against him at the 
April Sessions, Old Bailey, 1601, but the jury, mirahile returned 

a verdict of not guilty. Contrary to law and right, they were sent back by 
the Lord Chief-Justice, Sir John Popham, to reconsider their verdict, 
when they brought the prisoner in guilty. Before setting out to Tyburn, 
on the 19th (of April), he spoke most manfully to his wife, saying, 
“If I were made the Queen’s secretary or treasurer, you would not 
weep, do but keep yourself God’s servant and in the unity of God’s Church, 
and I shall be able to do you more good being now to go to the King of 
Kings.’’ His accuser, Peter Bullock, so far from gaining a reprieve — as 
he had hoped- — was sent to execution at the same time, and when the 
cart was about to be drawn away, Mr Duckett, having not only 
forgiven him but embraced him, then exhorted his companion to “ die 
as I die, a Catholic.’’ Bullock merely replied, that he died “ as a Christian 
should do.” A son of the Martyr was the Rev. Father Duckett, Prior of 
the English Carthusians at Nieuport, while another relative was the Rev. 
John Duckett, alumnus of Douay, who suffered at Tyburn, yth September, 
1644, aged 31, 

[Challoner: Memoirs, vol. ii. Gillow; Bibliographical Dictionary oj 
the Eng, Catholicsl] 


APRIL 20 

TICHBORNE, THE VENERABLE THOMAS, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(1567-1602) 

The last two years of Elizabeth’s reign were marked by “ Tichborne 
Trials,” which, if far less prolonged than the more famous one of two 
hundred and seventy years later, were not without their thrills. About 
the year 1584, a young gentleman, named Thomas Tichborne, went to 
Rheims to study for the priesthood. He was then in his seventeenth 
year, having been born in 1567 at Hartley Mauditt, Hants, and, it need 

1 Motives of the Catholic Faith, by Richard Bristow, D.D., first edition, 1574 - h was 
subsequently published in Latin for the use of scholars at home and abroad. The author was a 
Fellow of Ereter College, Oxford, and in 1566, was selected, together with Mr E. Campion, 
afterwards martyred, to dispute before Queen EHzabeth. No doubt, the example of Campion 
led Bristow to consider “ the Catholic claims,” for he went to Douay, 1569, and graduated 
DT). at the University there, 1579. He died near Hanow-on-the-Hill, i8tb October, 1581, 
aged 43. 



THOMAS TICHBORNE 


r5^ 


[April 20 


scarcely be added, that he was related to the famous and ancient stock, 
the Tichbornes of Alresford in the same county, whose ill-fated descendant, 
Roger Charles, or rather his obese impersonator, afforded such exciting 
speculations for our grandfathers and grandmothers in the early seventies. 
Thomas was ordained priest at Rome. His time at the English College 
coincided with the period of the notorious disturbances arising out of the 
presence of the Jesuits as directors and superiors. There were “ pro ” 
and “ contra ” Jesuit factions. The opposition alleged, generally, that 
the College was being used as a mere nursery for the Society to the utter 
neglect of all the rights of the seculars. Many, too, were violently opposed 
to the political attitude of Fr. Parsons, the “ Black Pope,” whose “ Book 
of the Succession,” Conference about the next Succession (i594)> 

advocated two rather irreconcilable principles, the “ right ” of the Spanish 
Infanta to the throne of England, and the “ right ” of peoples to alter 
the line of succession for just causes, notably that of religion. The students 
at the English College, with that ultra-patriotism which no penal code 
could quench, refused to allow the work to be read in the refectory, and 
openly rejoiced over the “ singeing of the King of Spain’s beard ” by their 
countrymen at Cadiz and elsewhere.^ In all these “ broils ” which, of 
course, greatly undermined the spirit and discipline of the College, Mr 
Tichborne is reported to have exerted a moderating influence. But, bad 
as life in England was at that time from a Catholic point of view, he was 
probably not reluctant to exchange the grievous domestic unrest of the 
“ Venerable,” for the more terrible, but less near and perpetual, troubles 
of his co-religionists at home. Upon arriving in England, he laboured 
chiefly in Hampshire, “ among his ain folk,” and in a county which even 
now Is wild enough in parts. But from the first the new-comer must have 
been a marked man. His near relatives, Peter Tichborne, and the latter’s 
son, Chideock Tichbourne, had been not only “ obstinate recusants,” and 
all for the Spanish interest — as the Jacobite Squire Western, temp George 
II, was all for the' French one — but Chideock had been an active member 
of that chivalrous band of young knight-errants who perished on the 
scaffold in 1586 for their gallant, if Quixotic, attempt to save the Queen 
of Scots from the coterie of hypocrites and assassins, then at their wits’ 
end for a plausible pretext for her " decent ” destruction ! Truly, the 
days of the Reformation ” were remarkable for the geniality of their 
social sunshine 1 The Rev. Thomas Tichborne had not been long in 
England when he was arrested and imprisoned in the Gatehouse, London. 


» No vranton outrage accompanied tke capture of Cadiz by the English Fleet. The 
women and nuns were protected by the victors, and conducted to a place of safety. 
Elizabeth, to her great credit, had given express orders for this. See Lingard : History, 
vol. vi., chap. viii. 



April 26] ST PETER CANISIUS 153 

His release came about under circumstances which would have afforded 
the press of to-day a real “ sensation,” and the film-producers a no less 
thrilling “ picture.” Somehow or other his cousin, Nicholas Ticnborne, 
and a friend, Thomas Hockshot of Mursley, Bucks, got to know that 
the reverend prisoner would have occasion on a certain day to go down 
the street for examination by the Justices, and that he would be accom- 
panied by only one jailer. So they waylaid the pair, floored the guardian 
and thus enabled his charge to escape. In the uproar which ensued, how- 
ever, the two daring assailants were seized, and after “ divers torments,” 
both eventually paid the penalty of their generous and courageous act 
of rescue, at Tyburn, 20th August, 1601. The priest thus violently 
set at large, did not enjoy his freedom, long. For he was subsequently 
recognized in the street by one Atkinson, “ a fallen priest,” who, like so 
many of his class at that time, had turned spy and informer. The renegade 
at once began shouting: "A Priest, a Priest, stop the Priest I ” Mr 
Tichborne sought to get out of the sudden danger by replying; “ I am 
no more a priest than you arel ” but all in vain, for he was arrested and 
shortly afterwards condemned (17th April). He suffered at Tyburn, 
20th April, 1602, together with the Rev. Robt. Watkinson, an alumnus 
of Douay and Rome. It is said that while walking in London with a 
friend, this latter martyr, who was an invalid, had been accosted by a 
venerable old man who remarked: ” Sir, you seem to be sick and troubled 
with many infirmities, but be of good cheer, for within these four days 
you shall be cured of all.” Within the time prescribed, Mr Watkinson 
had been arrested, tried, and condemned, and exactly on the fourth day 
he consummated his glorious course beneath Tyburn Tree. 

[Challoner: Memoirs, vol. i. H. S. Bowden; Mementoes of the 
English Martyrs and Confessors.^ 


APRIL 26 

ST PETER CANISIUS, S.J., DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH 

(1521-1596) 

While the whole Church glories in Peter Canisius as one of the greatest 
of her Saints, and latest of her doctors, two nations claim him as their 
citizen. Peter Kanis, latinized after the manner of the time into Canisius, 
was born at Nymwegen, 8th May, 1521. The town, though geographically 
in Holland, ecclesiastically formed part of the Archdiocese of Cologne, 
and had the privileges of a German Reichstadt. The father of the future 
and second Apostle of Germany had been ennobled for his sendees as 
tutor to the children of the Duke of Lorraine, and at the time of his son s 



ST PETER CANISIUS 


154 


[April 26 


birtiij was holding the post of Burgomaster of his native town, an office 
which he filled no less than nine times. Peter was the eldest of several 
children, and with the rest of the family he had the misfortune early to 
lose his excellent mother, iEgidia van Houweningen. His father married 
again, and the second wife proved not only a very kind and considerate 
stepmother to the children, but her high character was not without its 
effect on the subject of these remarks. Peter, though sufficiently devout 
as a boy, loving to serve Mass and be present at religious ceremonies, yet 
showed much high spirit, and even waywardness, the latter happily not 
of a serious character. Many of his young companions were frivolous 
and even “ dangerous,” but Peter’s good sense, religious upbringing and 
firm disposition brought him, with the help of God’s Grace, unscathed 
through his difficult time. At the age of fifteen, Peter entered the Uni- 
versity of Cologne, where he formed a close friendship with a saintly and 
sympathetic priest, Nikolaus van Esch. Among other things, Van Esch 
strengthened the young student’s resolution in the Faith, a serivce much 
needed at that time, owing to the strife going on in the University city 
between the supporters and antagonists of the Archbishop Hermann von 
Weid (1515-47), who, after opposing the beginnings of the Reformation, 
ended by giving his active support to the new heresy, or rather set of 
heresies. In due course, Peter took his Master of Arts degree, and then 
commenced divinity. About the age of eighteen, he pledged himself to a 
life of celibacy, and prayed the Lord to “ show me Thy ways and teach me 
to walk in them.” 

This being so, all plans for a career in the world were set aside, in- 
cluding a brilliant match, but after seriously considering the Carthusians 
and their holy life of prayer, silence, and mortification, young Canisius, 
now twenty-three, chose the Society of Jesus. He made the Spiritual 
Exercises for thirty days under Father Peter Faber, one of the original 
companions of St Ignatius, and on 8th May, 1 543, entered the lately 
established novitiate at Cologne. On 13th June, 1546, he said his first 
Mass, and such was his reputation already for learning and preaching, 
that the following year he was named Procurator to the Bishop of Augs- 
burg at the Council of Trent, Later, he lived with St Ignatius for six 
months at Rome, then was sent to Messina to teach Rhetoric in the Jesuit 
College there, and after a year was recalled to Rome to receive further 
instructions for what was to be his life-work. 

Though the great schism of the West had brought about many evils 
in Germany, as elsewhere, and the higher ranks of the hierarchy were too 
often filled by ambitious worldlings, yet not a little of the spiritual decadence 
of the time in the Empire was directly due to a too numerous and badly- 
instructed parish clergy. Among the many zealous persons who wished 



April 26] ST PETER CANISIUS 155 

to see this wretched state of things remedied, was the ruler of Bavaria, 
Duke William IV, who in 1548-49, applied to Pope Paul III and the 
General of the Jesuits for assistance in the matter. The immediate pro- 
posal was to bring into a state of efficiency the theological faculty of the 
University of Ingolstadt, and so begin by ensuring a high standard 
of ecclesiastical education in one important part of the Empire, and thus 
set a good example that would, no doubt, be speedily followed in other 
directions. Among those detailed for this momentous work were Fathers 
Canisius, Salmeron and Le Jay. After receiving the personal benediction 
of the Pope on 2nd September, 1 549, Fr. Canisius spent a considerable time 
in prayer at the shrine of the holy Apostles. Later, he wrote of this episode : 
“ They, too, gave me their blessing, confirmed my mission to Germany 
and promised me their favovrable protection.” Before leaving Rome, he 
was solemnly professed in the Society in the Church of Sancta Maria 
della Strada, the Mass on this occasion being celebrated by St Ignatius. 

When Fr. Canisius arrived in Germany the greater part of the nation 
had been wrested from the Faith, not only by the preaching activity of the 
reformers but still more by means of the press and the schools. The 
Catholic seats of learning had terribly declined, many had closed 
their doors, and even at Ingolstadt^ where the new-comer now found 
himself, there were only some four or five students in the theological 
faculty who had received the necessary classical training. Indifference to 
religion outside was such that, as our Saint expressed it, " we could not 
get two people to come to Mass even if we paid them I ” Like all true 
reformers, Fr. Canisius began the work of amelioration at home. He won 
over the apathetic and ill-read students by his kindness and devotion 
to their interests, assisted the poorer sort by financial help, and explained 
the nature of the interior life as expressed in the Spiritual Exercises. 
Within a very few years the apathy and tepidity of Ingolstadt had given 
place to fervour, and in 1552, Fr. Canisius was called upon to under- 
take the same kind of beneficent work at Vienna. There, as at Ingolstadt, 
he reformed the studies, corrected abuses, and infused the fire of religious 
fervour into numbers of persons, not inherently depraved, but simply 
grown dull and indifferent owing to bad example and want of method 
'and interest in the scholastic routine of the place. The year that St 
Ignatius died (1556), Fr- Canisius was appointed Provincial of the Society 
in South Germany, and during the years that he held this very important 
office, he achieved a series of triumphs which can only be described as 
Napoleonic. Thanks to his negotiations and persistent, but always con- 
ciliatory, diplomacy, flourishing Colleges were established at Prague, 
Munich, Augsburg, Innsbruck, Tyrnau and Dillingen. All these seats 
of learning were free — our Saint always insisted on that — and, moreover, 



ST PETER CANISIUS 


iS6 


[April 26 


each College had attached to it a “ Convictus ” or hostel for the entertain- 
ment of the students, "who were thus saved from many of the temptations 
which promiscuous and unsupervised life in large towns nearly always 
brings in its wake. 

Too late was it recognized in Scotland that much of the enormous 
success of the Reformation in that country was simply due to the unr 
instructed state of both clergy and people. The famous Catechism of 
Archbishop Hamilton of St Andrews (1552), had it appeared twenty or 
even ten years earlier, might have saved a large section of the Scottish 
people for the Church. A vast deal of the Lutheran triumph in Germany 
was directly due to the same cause. To dam one tide of loss at its source, 
Fr. Canisius drew up an excellent “ Catechism ” which appeared in 
April 1555. The larger and Latin version was used with splendid effect 
in all the Catholic high schools and by many of the parochial clergy. An 
abridgment in the vernacular was soon issued for children in the ordinary 
schools, where it had an enormous vogue.^ The larger Catechism (Latin) 
was enlarged into a serious handbook of Theology in 1569, and it went 
through no fewer than two hundred editions during the writer’s lifetime! 
It contains some 3200 references to Scripture passages and the Fathers. 

Besides the epoch-making Catechism, Fr. Canisius also wrote a long 
and learned reply to the Magdeburg divines whose Centuries or 
ecclesiastical history was chiefly designed to illustrate the gradual cor- 
ruption of the Church ever since Our Lord’s time — a rather odd way of 
impressing the world with the truth of Christianity I To be free for this 
stupendous labour, Fr. Canisius was relieved of his Provincialship. Be- 
tween 1571 and 1577, he produced two volumes of his reply, one dealing 
with St John the Baptist, in which he demonstrates that the whole life of 
the precursor proves, against Luther, the necessity of good works. The 
second book on “ The Incomparable Virgin Mary ” shows that the doctrine 
of the Immaculate Conception of Our Lord’s Blessed Mother finds a 
host of warm defenders among the early Fathers and Councils. His 
multifarious labours prevented the appearance of a third book to treat of 
St Peter and the primacy, but a few years afterwards, the Centuries 
received a continuous and overwhelming reply in the Annales Ecclesi- 
astici a Christo nato ad Annum ^ 1198, from the pen of Cardinal 
Baronius. In addition to his stupendous labours as College founder 
and writer on theology, Fr. Canisius also made time for extensive missionary 
activity. He. preached to large congregations at Vienna, Prague, Regens- 
bm-g, Cologne, Worms, Wurzburg, and Strasburg, in addition to many 
smaller towns and even obscure villages. His discourses, simple yet 

' In Southern Gernian 7 people often said to children, “ Have 70U learned 7 onr Canisius f " 
So S7non7mou3 did the terms Catechism and the name of the hoty writer become ! 



ST PETER CANISIUS 


April a6] 


157 


learned, and full of the unction which warms the heart and stimulates the 
mind, were mainly on. the doctrines and practices assailed by the innovators. 
The genera] effect of his pastoral zeal in this direction was to bring very 
many lax Catholics to a life of repentance, and a no less number of 
Protestants to the fold of the Church. Though wisely much opposed to 
those public disputations on religion which were so long but erroneously 
regarded as admirable methods of defending and promulgating the Faith, 
he was chosen as the Catholic representative at the “ Conferences ” between 
Catholics and Protestants at Worms and other places. The most valuable 
result of these discussions was to demonstrate yet again the never-ending 
confusion of the new heresies, and the solid and undistrubed unity of 
the doctrine of the Ancient Church. 

Just as when the might of the coalesced powers was driving back the 
French armies, 1812-14, it was necessary for Napoleon to fly from place 
to place to take personal command so as to secure victory for his receding 
legions and stem the tide of defeat, so in the great struggle for the tradi- 
tional Faith of Europe, 1552-90, the presence of the Apostle of Germany 
seemed essential to win back vast tracts of Central Europe to the Church. 
By his own individual influence with many of the still wavering princes 
and magnates, by the enormous correspondence which he carried on with 
nobles, scholars, -religious and even private persons, and still more by the 
scholarly devoted priests and solidly informed and staunch laymen educated 
in the Universities, Seminaries and Colleges, improved or founded by 
his care, St Peter Canisius made it possible for Macaulay to declare when 
writing nearly three centuries later that “ a hundred years after the separa- 
tion [from Rome] Protestantism could scarcely maintain itself on the 
shores of the Baltic.”^ More than half of the holy Roman Empire had 
been either preserved or reclaimed. As an expert on religious affairs in 
Germany, Fr; Canisius was of great assistance to the Council of Trent in 
more ways than one. He advised the concession of the Chalice to the 
laity in certain regions of the Empire owing to the long-rooted dissensions 
over Communion under “ both kinds,” and the practice was permitted by 
Pope Paul IV. The inconveniences arising from the grant of the Chalice, 
joined to the fact that the true doctrine of Our Lord’s presence “ under 
either kind alone ” was well known to all Catholics of any education, soon 
however, led to the " privilege ” being abandoned by the laity, and it was 
formally withdrawn by Pius V. Fr. Canisius also urged the confirming of 
the Religious Peace of Augsburg which assured tranquillity to the country 
for half a century. 

One of the greatest of the labours associated with this indefatigable 
apostle is the foundation of the Jesuit College at Freiburg, Switzerland, in 

I “ Essay on Von Ranke.” 



ST PAUL OF THE CROSS 


158 


[April 28 


1 580. This famous seat of learning was largely the means of preserving 
the Faith over a great part of Switzerland then menaced by Calvinism. 
The last years of our Saint’s almost incredibly active life were spent here 
not in teaching in the schools, but in preaching. He appeared in the 
pulpit at Freiburg for the last time in 1596, on the occasion of the opening 
of the New College, but was then described as “ worn out with years and 
work.” During the few months of mortal life that still remained, he was 
prevented by “ a grievous dropsy ” from saying Holy Mass, and with the 
humility that had marked his whole life, referred to himself as “ a beast of 
burden ” unable to work any more 1 On the Feast of St Thomas the 
Apostle, he received Viaticum and. Extreme Unction, and that afternoon 
slept sweetly in the Lord, just after beholding, as it is piously believed, 
the vision of the Holy Mother of God in glory. 

The “ cause ” of this great champion of the Faith in Central Europe 
was introduced at Rome in 1623. The long delay so often seen in the 
case of great servants of God occurred now, and the “ Apostle of Germany ” 
was not beatified until 1864. In his “ Encyclical,” of ist August, 1897, 
Pope Leo XIII singled out the “ Catechism ” of the Blessed Canisius for 
special praise, describing it as “ distinguished by its magnificence of style 
and worthy of the pen of a Father of the Church.” The seal was put on 
this pontifical eulogy on 2ist May, 1925, when the Blessed Peter Canisius 
was declared on the same day by the present Holy Father, a Saint of the 
Church and the latest of her Doctors. 

[An extensive bibliography has grown up around St Peter Canisius 
and his career. An important Life of the Saint — De Vita 
Ca«bz 7 — appeared at Munich, 1614. The Author, Raderus 
Sacchinus published another — Vita et Rebus Gestis P. 
Petri Canisii — at Ingolstadt, 1616. Many German Lives. 
The latest by Metiler (Ratisbon, 1897). See also Studies and 
Essays on the Work of the Jesuits in Germany^ by J. Zunge 
(Freiburg, 1907).] 


APRIL 28 

ST PAUL OF THE CROSS, FOUNDER OF THE PASSIONIST 

CONGREGATION 

(1694-1775) 

The early history of Paul Francis Danei presents several of the features 
common to the lives of manyother Saints. Born at Ovada, a pretty village 
of Genoa, on 3rd January, 1694, the same year that was to usher into the 
world another and very different type of mind — ^Fran^ois Marie Arouet 
de Voltaire — ^the early years of our Saint were spent amidst much the same 



April 28] ST PAUL OF THE CROSS 159 

Hnd of personages and scenery so vividly described in the / Promessi Sposi 
of Manzoni. Luca Danei, and Anna Maria Massari, his wife, the parents 
of Paul Francis, had no less than sixteen children, and this huge family, 
as usual, appears not only to have enjoyed a sufficiency of all that was 
required for their station in life, which was that of the middle class, but 
to have lived together in that general happiness which is no small part 
of the effect, or rather, the earthly portion of the reward of Christian 
domestic life. Luca Danei was very fond of reading the Lives of the Saints 
to his children, both for edification and instruction, and this custom seems 
to have given little Paul and his younger brother, John Baptist, a relish 
for playing at being priests. After a time, the two boys began practising 
in private some of the austerities mentioned in the books they read or had 
read to them, and like the St Curd d'Ars when young, they would often 
gather together the children of the village and relate to them the wonderful 
legends and heroic virtues of their spiritual heroes and heroines. It was 
about this time that Paul and his young brother were saved — like the 
youthful St Thomas k Becket — ^from drowning in the River Tanaro, and 
by the intervention, so it is said, of the Blessed Virgin herself. They used 
to describe how a lady of radiant beauty had suddenly appeared to them as 
they were struggling in the water, and who, having brought them safely to 
the banks, as suddenly disappeared. In 1709, the Danei family returned 
to their native town of Castellazzo, having left the place many years before 
owing to the war between the Allies, including the Duke of Savoy on one 
side, and the French. Meanwhile, Paul had been for some five years 
studying Latin and belles-lettres under a scholarly priest at Cremolino. 
The next two year’s of his life appear to have been passed at home, but in 
what occupation is not stated. It is very likely that he acted as tutor to 
his younger brothers and sisters, but it is certain that he was making great 
advance in perfection, hearing Mass daily, communicating frequently, 
practising severe mortification, chiefly in the matter of food and sleep, 
and last, but certainly not least, bearing most heroically — despite long 
spells of interior desolation — the apparent harshness of a confessor, who 
wished to " try ” the now well-known holiness of the youth. Then in 
1714, came a new departure. For about five centuries on and off, there 
had been a more or less continuous state of war existing between Venice 
and Turkey, but in the last-named year, it looked as if the Sultan Armet 
III would renew the agelong hostilities on a large and, therefore, really 
formidable scale. Not only the romantic city of merchant-princes and 
lagoons called for volunteers, but the Pope, Clement XI, added his pontifical 
appeal to the nations for further material aid in the shape of money and 
munitions of war. Very soon large numbers of soldiers of fortune and 
adventurers from the late armies of Louis XIV, Marlborough and 



i6o 


ST PAUL OF THE CROSS 


[April 28 


Prince Eugene — ^the War of the Spanish Succession being now over — 
were flocking to Venice and the north of Italy for this expected new 
crusade. Among those who caught the enthusiasm of the hour, was 
Paul Francis, who joined one of the Armies then being raised at Crema in 
Lombardy. He served, as we should now say, with the colours for a year, 
but there being no prospect of going to the front at the end of that time, 
he applied for and obtained his discharge. The truth is the hostilities which 
had appeared so menacing at the outset soon became merely nominal, 
and the “ war ” which had begun with so much martial display fizzled 
out in diplomatic negotiations. 

The next several years were not very eventful, but they were most 
valuable to our Saint in many ways. He resumed his former life of extreme 
asceticism and charity towards his neighbour’s soul, catechizing the young 
and exhorting, and often converting, the most abandoned transgressors. 
He declined an advantageous marriage, and renounced a rich inheritance. 
His one idea now was to establish a Society dedicated to the Salvation of 
Souls through devotion to Our Lord’s Passion. His year in the Army amidst 
moral disorders and abandonment of every kind, and his experiences else- 
where, had deeply impressed him with the fact of the utter forgetfulness 
of vast numbers of people with regard to all that the Saviour of Mankind 
has done to redeem sinners. It was in 1720, that Paul Francis is believed 
to have had the vision of himself clothed in the black serge habit of the 
Passionist Congregation-to-be. This occmrence was brought to the notice 
of the Bishop of Alessandria, Mgr. Gatlinara, and also Paul’s confessor, 
and it was finally agreed after a most careful investigation of the matter, 
that the projected Congregation had the divine approval. In November 
of this year (1720), Paul received the habit in question from his Lordship, 
and then during a rigorous retreat of forty days, he drew up the Rules of 
the new foundation. It was while journeying across the mountains in 
the depth of winter to submit the draft of these to his confessor, Fr. 
Columban, at Pontedecimo, that Paul of the Cross, as we must now call 
him, was befriended one night by some of the gendarmerie in their lonely 
station-hut, an act of charity which always gave the saint a special regard 
for policemen.^ The year, 1720 therefore, is regarded as the year of 
foundation of the “ Passionists ” — or “ Congregation of the Discalced 
Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” 
to describe the title in full. The first years of his labours as Founder 
were passed at Castellazzo, where he, his brother, John Baptist, and the 
early religious of the institute, imparted Catechetical instruction and 

* St Paul of the Cross is the Patron-Saint of the “ Force ” ererywhere, and notably of the 
" Cathohc Poh'ce Guild ” of England, estabh'shed under the auspices of the Cardinal Archbishop 
of Westminster, and other distinguished personages. 



April 7«j ST PAUL OF THE CROSS i6j 

spiritual exercises under episcopal sanction. In May, 1725, Pope Bene- 
dict XIII gave a verbal permission for the “ Congregation " to “ assemble 
companions and live according to the rules as drawn up.” On 7th June, 
172.75 Paul and his brother were ordained priests by the same pontiff. The 
following year with the permission of Mgr. Palmieri, Bishop of Saone, 
they took possession of a dilapidated herinitage on Monte Argenta.ro 
near Portecole. Then occurred exactly what had happened to St Alphonsus 
Liguon. The few novices of the new foundation fell away leaving Paul 
and his brother alone except for one lay-brother. Nothing discouraged, 
the pair had recourse to prayer, and the fruit that comes from that and 
patience, and by I737s they were enabled, with the free labour of the in- 
habitants of Orbitello, to complete the first Monastery or “ Retreat ” there, 
on land granted by the King of Naples. On 15th May, 1741, the Rules 
of the Foundation were solemnly approved by Benedict XIV, who declared: 
“ This Congregation of the Passion is the last to come into the world, 
and it seems it should have been the first.” By the brief Ad Pastora/is, 

1 8th April, 174^5 die same learned Pope raised the Passionist Institute 
to the rank of a religious Congregation. From this time, the record 
of St Paul of the Cross and his brethren js a history of constant new 
foundations, missions and retreats in various parts of Italy, the holy Founder 
himself having in eight years given the Spiritual Exercises in no less than 
nineteen dioceses, beginning with Viterbo and ending at Sezze. Fr. 
Paul prepared his sermons and discourses not only by much prayer, but 
also by severe fasts and the use of the discipline. The conversions 
he wrought were astounding. We read of notorious public sinners, 
desperadoes, smugglers, robbers, etc., abandoning their evil lives and living 
henceforth"^ as models of penitence. But the heart and soul of Fr. Paul 
went out to other nations as well. It was while praying before the Blessed 
Sacrament in the Church of Castellazzo, that he first thought of the con- 
version of England. He does not seem to have met any English people, 
yet the ancient splendour of the Church in these realms always appealed 
most powerfully to his imagination. In his old age he said : ” Let us pray 
for England. Whenever I begin to pray, this kingdom presents itself to 
my mind, and it is now fifty years since I began to pray unceasingly for 
the conversion of England to the Faith of its fathers.” Not till nearly 
sixty-seven years after his death were his spiritual sons to come to this 
country, and then one of the first-fruits of their initial labours was the 
reception into the Church of John Henry Newman by Father Dominic 
of the Mother of God, which momentous event took place at Littlemore, 
mear Oxford, 9 th October, 1845. Though as far as we know, Fr. Paul 
was not personally acquainted with any English people at least of note 
it is pleasant to recall that Prince Henry Benedict Stuart, the titular Henry 

L 



I52 


ST PAUL OF THE CROSS 


[April 28 ' 

IX of Great Britain, etc., more generally known as the Cardinal Duke of 
York, showed himself the good friend of the Passionists by building for 
them the Church of their Retreat on Monte Cavo, the highest point of 
the Alban Hills. Unfortunately, to obtain materials for this otherwise 
laudable work, the Royal Cardinal sanctioned the destruction of the fine 
remains of the once splendid temple of Jupiter Latia.lis which crowned 
the summit — an act of vandalism which has ever since drawn down on 
the memory of the amiable “ last of the Stuarts ” the condemnation not 
merely of antiquaries, but of all who cherish “ the long glories of Imperial 
Rome.” ^ 

It was in the Advent of 1770 that this laborious servant of God first 
began to show signs of the illness that five years later proved fatal to him. 
Yet he would not relax any of his good works or personal mortifications. 
He continued his negotiations with the Pope, Clement XIV, who had a 
great personal esteem for him, for the establishment of the Passionist nuns, 
the second great undertaking of the holy Founders, and made all arrange- 
ments for the opening of the first Convent of the Sisters at Corneto. 
During the last session of the General Chapter of the Congregation, 
what had been simply ” declining powers,” developed into a serious illness, 
but even in this extremity, the spirit of self-denial which had ever been 'so 
salient in the life of the Saint of the Cross shone forth, and he chose to 
die not in a comfortable bed but on a rough, straw pallet. “ Read me the 
Passion of Our Lord,” were the last recorded words of Fr. Paul, after 
receiving, with his usual fervour, the Viaticum and the other “ last rites ” 
of the Church. On the evening of that day, i8th October, 1775, the great 
Founder of the Passionist Congregation closed his eyes for ever to this 
world, and the news of his death was received in Rome and throughout 
Italy as that of a Saint. The expenses of the impressive obsequies in the 
Church of the “ Retreat ” where Fr. Paul had expired were borne by the 
Pope, Pius VI, but the sacred remains were removed in 1 85a to the Basilica 
of SS. John and Paul in Rome. Numerous miracles and spiritual favours 
having been proved, the preliminary stages of “ Venerable ” and ” Beams ” 
were passed through in 1784 and 1852 respectively.® Then on 29th 
June, 1867, Pius IX, in the presence of a congregation at St Peter’s, estim- 
ated at a hundred and twenty-five thousand, pronounced the formal decree 
enrolling the Blessed Paul among the Saints of the Church. With 
him were also canonized St Josaphat, martyred by Greek schismatics (12th 

’ No pasquinade, however, has enshrined in verse the vandalic act of the Cardinal Duke, 
as in the case of the Barberini Pope, Urban VIII, 1 623-44, whose destruction of antique buildings, 
etc., for family aggrandizement evoked the famous epigram : “ Quod non fecerunt barbari, 
fecerunt Barberini ! ” 

’ At the Process in 1784, the Cardinal Duke of York acted as Penente of the cause. 



April 28] LOUIS MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT 163 

November, 1623), the Martyrs of Gorcum, and S. Peter d’Arbues. Like- 
wise, St Leonard of Port Maurice, the contemporary' of our Saint, St Mary 
Frances and St Germaine Cousin, all of whom are noticed in these pages. 

The profound interest in, or rather affection for, England ever evinced 
by St Paul of the Cross is said to have culminated in a vision during the 
last Holy Mass he ever offered, in which he saw his Religious labouring for 
the conversion of this country. Nothing could have been more unlikely at 
that time than that this, or, indeed, any other body of Religious would be 
found canonically established and actively engaged in the work of openly 
preaching Catholicism in a land where the remnant of the faithful — about 
69,000 — still lay under the full, unrepealed burden of the penal laws 1 
The first Passionist to be officially sent to England, was the famous Fr. 
Dominic (d. 1849), already mentioned, who came in 1841. On 17th Feb- 
ruary of the following year, Aston Hall, Staffordshire, was opened as St 
Michael’s Retreat.^ St Joseph’s Retreat, Highgate, was commenced in 
1858, and at the present time, the Congregation possesses seven houses 
in England, i.e., at Highgate, Broadway, Carmarthen, Evesham, Herne 
Bay, Harborne and St Helens. 

The Rule of the Congregation, though it received several modifications, 
at the hands of the Congregation of Rites before being finally approved, is, 
nevertheless, very severe. It prescribes a fast on three days in each week, 
besides Lent and Advent. The Fathers rise at night for Matins, and recite at 
other stated times the rest of the canonical office in Choir. In addition to the 
usual three vows, they take a fourth, x.e., constantly to remind the Faithful 
of the great theme of their holy foundation — Christ crucified. Hence the 
subject of the mysteries of the Sacred Passion forms a large part of the 
exercises at the missions and retreats which the Fathers so frequently 
preach in all the countries where the Congregation is established. 


APRIL 28 

ST LOUIS MARIE GRIGNION. FOUNDER OF THE 
“COMPANY OF MARY” AND “THE DAUGHTERS 
OF WISDOM” 

(1673-1716) 

Louis Marie Grignion is one of the many examples of the truth of the 
saying that nearly all priests and religious come from large families. He 
was the second of many children born to his parents, and of these some 

* Aston Hall Mission ceased to be served b/ the Passionists in i854> when it passed under 
the care of seculars. 



164 LOUIS MAHIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT [April 28 

of the sons became priests and three of the daughters nuns. The mother 
of this numerous progeny was a very devout woman, and she taught the 
subject of this notice early to have a true devotion to Our Lady. When 
confirmed, he added to his baptismal name of Louis that of Marie in 
honour of his “ Good Mother,” as he already called the Blessed Virgin. 
At the age of twelve, Louis went to the Jesuit College of Rennes, where 
he soon outshone his classmates in intellectual brilliance. Still more 
did he surpass them in devotion, and one account relates how he would 
“ spend whole hours motionless before our Lady’s Altar.” His charity 
to the poor was likewise very great, and he once when a boy collected a 
sum of money sufficient to provide a suit of clothes for a fellow-student 
who was badly off. 

It was the wish of Louis’ father that his promising son should follow 
a secular career, but after many entreaties, and still more rebuffs, the latter 
obtained permission to study for the priesthood. By choice, apparently, he 
made his way to St Sulpice, Paris, on foot, distributing his pocket-money 
and most of his outfit to beggars on the road 1 His reputation for sanctity, 
however, had preceded him, and upon his arrival, M. Bouin, the Superior, 
caused a Te Deum to be recited in thanksgiving for a student who resembled 
more an angel than a man. He spent seven years at the great Paris 
Seminary, where he was ordained 5th June, 1700. His first sacerdotal 
“Cure” was that of Chaplain to the General Hospital at Poitiers. The 
patients had been much neglected, hitherto, but the young priest soon 
wrought a wondrous change for the better. In addition to his spiritual 
duties, he most tenderly cared for and consoled the sick. He also, formed 
a sort of sodality of pious girls, called “La Sagesse,” for the purpose of 
instruction and prayer. After further experiences as Chaplain to the Hospital 
at Poitiers and as a spiritual Director among some hermits, who were still 
to be found in the then solitary district of Mt. Valerien (or Mt. Calvaire), 
near Paris, the Abb^ Grignion offered himself as a diocesan Missionary 
to the Bishop of Poitiers. He was accepted, and henceforth many parishes 
in the north-west of France had the privilege of his sermons and minis- 
trations. His discourses, generally speaking, were against the insidious 
heresy of Jansenism then permeating the country. This zeal, of course, 
raised up against him many enemies, including the very Bishop of Poitiers 
who had licensed him to preach. His Lordship, influenced it seems by 
malicious reports, soon withdrew his “ faculties ” from the zealous priest. 
At once the latter went to Rome, doing the immense journey, as usual, on 
foot, and after his arrival had every facility for stating his case to the 
Pope. Clement XI conferred upon the young champion of orthodoxy 
the title of “ Missionary Apostolic,” which meant that he could preach 
anywhere. It was while giving a mission at Pont-Chateau in the Diocese of 



April a8] LOUIS MARIE GRIGNION DE MONTFORT 165 

Nantes, that the holy Abb^ conceived the idea of constructing a huge 
Calvary ” near tlie town of Pont-Chateau, a notion which was taken up 
with great enthusiasm by the people, who laboured at the work till the 
project was complete. When the “ Calvaire ” was ready to be solemnly 
dedicated, 14th September, 1709, an order came from the Governor of the 
province for the whole structure to be destroyed. His Excellency had been 
prevailed upon by the Jansenists that the work might be used as a look-out 
by robbers in time of peace and by enemies in war, and no appeal could 
prevail upon him to alter his decision. “ Well,” said the good Abbi, ” God 
permitted me to erect this Calvary. He now allows it to be destroyed. 
Blessed be His Holy Name.” The untiring priest now turned his steps to 
La Rochelle, where he converted to the Faith many of the Calvinists who, 
despite the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, still remained in the neigh- 
bourhood. About this time, too, he composed his treatise on True Devotion 
to the Blessed Virgin Mary, He also drew up the Rules for the use of those 
whom he had in mind to assist him in his labours for souls. The “ Congre- 
gation of the Daughters of Wisdom ” was established at Rochelle early in 
1715, but the good Father’s days were now closing. While ministering at 
La Rochelle, some poison had been mixed with his broth by one of his many 
enemies among the Jansenists or Calvinists, and though he partially re- 
covered from the serious illness which resulted therefrom, his health hence- 
forth was shattered. He preached for the last time in the Church of St 
Laurent S.ur S^vre in April, 1716, but on the 5th of that month was taken 
seriously ill. He appointed the Abbd Mulct, one of his Missionaries, as his 
successor, and then devoutly received the last rites of the Church. He 
blessed the crowd that hung around the house, using for the purpose the 
cross given to him by Pope Clement XL He went to his reward, 28 th 
April, 1716, dying as he said he wished to die, “ the Servant of Jesus in 
Mary.” 

The ‘‘Daughters of Wisdom,’ since their foimdation, 1715, have 
greatly increased everywhere. They take charge of schools, hospitals, 
orphanages, penitentiaries, and similar institutions. They were much 
favoured by Napoleon, who granted them a subsidy of 30,000 francs, in 
addition to 12,000 francs annual grant and various prmleges. The Con- 
gregation had suffered terribly during the Revolution, several of the nuns 
having been guillotined, and many others subjected to barbarous outrages. 
The Congregation, which has six houses in England in addition to others 
in various countries abroad, was not canonically approved by the Holy 
See till 1826 (Leo XII). 

Like the “Daughters of Wisdom,” his other Foundation, the 
“ Company of Mary,” has also expanded, and to-day its many houses 
are to be chiefly found in Canada, the United States and South America. 



1 66 BLESSED JOSEPH COTTOLENGO [April 30 

There is one house in England, at Romsey. The Fathers preach 
missions and retreats, and especially inculcate everywhere a tender 
devotion to the Holy Mother of God. The Blessed Louis Grignion 
de Montfort was Beatified by Leo XIII in 1888, and Canonized by 
Pius XII, 20th July, 1947. 


APRIL 30 

COTTOLENGO, THE BLESSED JOSEPH, CONFESSOR 

(1786-1842) 

The year 1786, which was the birth-year of the St Curd of Ars, was also 
that of the Blessed Joseph of Cottolengo, born at Bra, a small town of 
Piedmont, His parents, Joseph Anthony Cottolengo and Benedicta 
Clarotti, enjoyed a sufficient fortune and so were able to give a superior 
education to their twelve children, though owing to extremely bad health, 
Joseph, who was to achieve such distinction in the religious and even 
civil life of Northern Italy, long found study a matter of great. difficulty. 
He had, from very early years, a special devotion to St Thomas Aquinas, 
and he used to attribute a great change for the better in the matter of 
acquiring knowledge and also his dictinction aniong his fellow-students, 
to the direct assistance of the Angel of the Schools. Even as a boy, Joseph 
Cottolengo was remarkable for his devotion and his love of mortification. 
From his excellent mother he learned to take a deep and practical interest 
in the poor, whom he was taught to regard, after the manner of St Francis, 
as his brethren. He entered the Seminary of Turin, 1 802, to study for 
the priesthood, but for a time it was a question whether he would not 
have to relinquish the idea owing to what appeared to be the beginnings 
of consumption. The danger happily passed off, and Joseph, having gone 
through the various classes of learning and stages of ordination, was pro- 
moted to the priesthood, 8th June, 1811. 

The Napoleonic Wars, which had been raging uninterruptedly since 
1 804, had called to the Eagles a vast multitude of soldiers of all races and 
nations, and the newly-created “ Kingdom of Italy,” as a subject state 
of the Empire, sent year by year to the armies of the great Captain thousands 
of recruits. Turin, like Milan, Verona and the other cities of Piedmont 
and Lombardy, was full of troops, including very many invalids broken 



April 30] BLESSED JOSEPH COTTOLENGO 167 

in the terrible conflicts from Austerlitz to Wagram. From the first day 
of his ordination, Fr, J9seph Cottolengo felt a great interest in these brave 
men. He was indefatigable in visiting the hospitals and the other military 
centres, where his wonderful kindness, cheerfulness, and sympathy soon 
Won all hearts. He prepared many for a good death, and by his counsel 
and exhortation was the means of bringing back great numbers to a life 
of practical catholicity. Then in the midst of this magnificent apostolate 
a curious thing happened. The zealous Father, who solaced and 
strengthened wherever he went, began himself to suffer from that hideous 
spiritual malady — scruples! He who had calmed the fears and resolved 
the doubts of so many others, was now the victim of fearful qualms as 
to the state of his own soul! To this affliction was joined a mysterious 
disgust of the Confessional, and a strong wish to give up the parochial 
ministry altogether. Thus assailed, the good Father did the best possible 
thing. He prayed long and fervently before the Blessed Sacrament and 
obeyed implicitly the advice or rather orders of his confessor. The horrible 
nightmare yielded — as such attacks always do — ^to devotion and obedience, 
and instead of retiring from his parish, that of Cornegliano, Fr. Cottolengo 
redoubled his efforts, catechizing with much good effect, and drawing 
large crowds of eager hearers by his preaching, which combined in itself 
the fortuitous union of the practical and the ornate. In March, 1816, he 
took the degree of Doctor of Divinity at the Turin University, and two years 
later was nominated to a Canonry of the Cathedral. This dignity not only 
meant permanent residence in the city, but also a far greater extension of 
his field of work. Canon Cottolengo was not one to regard his preferment 
as a reasonable excuse to pass his years in a sort of stately quietude. He 
systematically visited the poor, saw to their spiritual and temporal wants, 
and spent a large part of his canonical income in purchasing food and 
other necessaries for the really indigent. Meantime, he laboured for hours 
in the Confessional, where the absolution of " the good Canon,” as he 
was everywhere called, was eagerly sought by ever-increasing crowds of 
penitents. This great and fruitful work, and an intense devotion to the 
Blessed Sacrament, were the outstanding characteristics of this untiring 
labourer, but as had happened before, he about this time began again to 
feel the attacks of his old enemy. His state of depression became so 
serious that he regarded himself as utterly unfit for active parochial life, 
and so resolved to resign his Canonry and enroll himself among the Fathers 
of the Oratory. He laid the state of his mind and soul before his con- 
fessor, who, however, strongly dissuaded him from taking the step now 
proposed, adding briefly, but authoritatively, “ That is not your vocation ! 
Implicit obedience and prayer again brought tranquillity, "and next year 
(1827), the now reassured Canon was instrumental in establishing a work 



i68 


BLESSED JOSEPH COTTOLENGO [April 30 

of abiding charity and ever-increasing utility — the Volta Rossa Hospital 
at Turin. Though the city — long one of the best regulated in Italy — 
already possessed several fine institutions of the kind as the great hospital 
of St Giovanni Battista, the Spedale di Carita, Spedale della Maternita, etc., 
there was abundant room for another. The new foundation devoted 
itself especially to the care of the poor and of strangers, and the charge 
of the house was given to an “ Institute of Pious Ladies ” under the 
direction of Maria Anna Nasi. As usual, this work for God was early 
visited with several hard trials. It was oppressed by debt, and the people 
of the immediate neighbourhood — the Italians have or had a peculiar 
horror of grave sickness in their midst ^ — complained of the hospital as 
a probable centre of infection. Complaints were made not only to the 
“ Corpo Decurionale” or Town Council, but even to the Government of 
the King of Sardinia, and in September, 1831, an order came down either 
to close the place or remove it to the country. The latter alternative was 
chosen, and the hospital was reopened at Valdocco, a village to the west 
of Turin. The transplanted foundation increased and flourished, though 
the house itself, Piccola Casa, had few, if any, claims to architectural dis- 
tinction, and the new situation, too, was in many ways very inconvenient. 
It was here, in the year following the migration from Turin, that the 
saintly Superior, Maria Anna Nasi, died a holy death (15th November, 
1832). A new annexe for two hundred and seventy male patients was 
opened about this time, though the voice of complaint had not ceased 
to continue its mean and selfish murmurs. The hospital, so it was asserted, 
would become a burden on the rates; the charity dispensed there would 
draw a continual concourse of undesirable characters to the district, etc. 
By this time, however, the saintly character of Canon Cottolengo and the 
vast beneficence of his work were widely known and- appreciated, and the 
objections so noisily raised were soon silenced. Moreover, the King, 
Charles Albert, to mark his appreciation of the self-sacrificing labours 
of the Founder of the hospital, conferred on Joseph Cottolengo the 
Knighdy Order of SS. Maurice and Lazarus, while Gregory XVI more 
than once openly eulogized the admirable work for afflicted humanity 
that was being carried on day and night at Valdocco. 

Meanwhile, the ascetical development of Joseph Cottolengo was pro- 
ceeding apace. His Confessional was besieged for hours every day, and 
his advice on all sorts of matters, some very spiritual, others very much 
the reverse, was eagerly sought by ladles and gentlemen, artisans and field- 
labourers, in short, by persons of all degrees. He was, in fact, the Cur£ 
d’Ars of Piedmont, and, indeed, much of his life — his recurring fits of 

» Sec Lord Houghton’s description of Keats’s last illness and death in his well-known Life 
of the poet. 



BLESSED RICHARD REYNOLDS 


May i] 


169 


depression, his resolution, repeated from time to time, of retiring from 
active missionary life, the beneficent work he instituted, and the multi- 
tude of souls he guided to repentance, and even perfection, make him the 
close counterpart of St John Baptist Vianney. Unable to follow the 
eremitical life himself, the Blessed Joseph Cottolengo was instrumental 
in founding in Piedmont a body of hermits or pious laymen, living in 
solitude and following a course of prescribed religious exercises, much 
after the manner, it seems, of the Solitaries oj the Sambucca — those 
heroes of the ascetical romance of Mr Montgomery Carmichael. God 
manifested the sanctity of the Blessed Joseph by giving him a rare faculty 
for the discerning of vocations, as well as of calming family feuds, and 
other social dissensions, and even of quieting ferocious animals. He 
died after a short illness on 30th April, 1 842, at the house of his brother, 
Canon Louis Cottolengo at Chieri, the news of his death everywhere 
moving vast numbers of persons to visible sorrow and causing the almost 
universal ejaculation, “ The Saint is dead! ” The first stage of the process 
of his cause having been successfully gone through, Pius IX bn 19th July, 
1877, solemnly declared this great and holy benefactor of spiritual and 
temporal affliction, Venerable. The title of Blessed followed on April 29th, 
19:7, when Benedict XV, amidst the sorrows, carnage and perplexities of 
the Great War, decreed that honour to one who lives in history, and will 
live, as a foremost example of nineteenth century sanctity. 

\Lije in Italian, by Sastaldi. Another in English in the Quarterly 
Series, based on the preceding.] 


MAY I 

REYNOLDS, THE BLESSED RICHARD, MARTYR 

(1492 P-1535) 

Both the year and place of the birth of this one of the first and most 
famous of the English martyrs of the Reformation period, are uncertain. 
It is said that he was probably born in or about 1492, and at Pinhoe in 
Devonshire, though another account asserts that he came " frae the north 
countrie.” Perhaps the fact that he was elected a Fellow of Corpus Christi 
College, Cambridge, in 1510, would seem to indicate that he was born 
some years earlier than the date ascribed. ' At the University^ he made 
great advance in learning, especially in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, so that 
years afterwards Cardinal Pole described him as the only English monk 
well skilled in these, the languages of the Cross. In 1513, he graduated 
B.D. “without scholastic acts or residence,” the reason given being 



BLESSED RICHARD REYNOLDS 


170 


[May I 


that he was about to enter religion, and that he would be given leave to 
preach by papal Bull. The Order chosen by Richard Reynolds was the 
Bridgettines, which had been founded at Wastein diocese of Linkoping in 
1344, by St Bridget, Queen of Sweden, and introduced into England in 
1406 by Lord Henry Fitzhugh, who had been greatly edified by the 
sanctity of the members when Ambassador from Henry IV to King Eric 
of Sweden. Like that of the Gilbertines of St Gilbert of Sempringham 
(1083-1189), the Bridgetine Rule provided for dual monasteries of men 
and women, though kept strictly separate, the object of this arrangement 
being apparently the spiritual direction of the nuns, and the services of 
the Church.^ The house entered by Richard Reynolds was the famous 
Monastery of Syon at Isleworth, which had been so richly endowed by 
Henry V in 1415, the memorable year of Agincourt. Here Reynolds 
remained some twenty years, displaying always great zeal, notably in the 
matters of hearing confessions and instructing the people. He took the 
degree of D.D. (Cantab.) probably not long after he went to Syon, and 
that great academic distinction seems to have always served as a reminder 
to him that he was called to exercise the office of instructor to others in all 
that related to faith and virtue. 

Though the matrimonial troubles of Henry VIII were the talk of 
Europe from about 1528, it was not till 1535 that the affair entered into 
the life of secluded Syon. By that time, however, Henry had divorced 
Queen Catherine of Aragon, and taken to himself Anne Boleyn, to the 
great scandal of all but the comparatively few time-serving abetters of 
the King. In fact, not only were the people discussing the so-called 
marriage, but they were — especially the lower orders — freely giving their 
opinion about “ Nan Bullen ” and her scarcely less notorious sister, Mary, 
who, as every one knew, had also been one of Henry’s mistresses. There 
was not long before this a riot in the city caused by the arbitrary and 
heavy taxation of the Court, and during the course of thfe disturbance the 
women — ever the most violent on these occasions — ^had denounced the 
new Queen (Anne) as “ the King’s common stew whore! ”* Discussion 
on the royal divorce and its sequel being thus rife, it was impossible that 
it could be left entirely out of mind even in such places as Syon Monastery. 
Among those who boldly maintained the utter unlawfulness of the King’s 
action in putting away his true wife and marrying another was Richard 
Reynolds, now " Father ” or Prior of the Monastery. All this public 
expression of opinion, polite or the reverse, must have been excessively 
galling to Henry, who, long accustomed to be treated with Oriental servility 

* A Defence of the Unity of the Church, Book iii. 

* James Gairdner, A History of the English Church in the Sixteenth Century from Henry 
Fill io Mery. London, 1904. 8vo. 



May i] blessed RICHARD REYNOLDS 171 

and adulation by his minions, now saw with dismay the rising tide of 
popular condemnation. It was determined, therefore, tc strike terror 
into the multitude by making examples from the most illustrious of the 
opponents of the royal policy, and among the crowd of intended victims 
were now numbered Prior Reynolds and the Priors of the London Charter- 
house and the Charterhouses at Beau Vale and Axholme. At the pre- 
liminary examination before Thomas Cromwell, the King’s Vicar-General, 
not only was the validity of the royal marriage made a matter of crucial 
test, but also the more far-reaching question of the royal supremacy, and 
the accused, having refused to acknowledge either of these claims, were 
sent for trial. That event took place on 28th April, 1535, before the 
Lord Chancellor Audley — “ a thorough tool to the King ” — and soon 
to be the most rapacious of the plunderers of the Church property.^ 
Before the actual trial commenced, there was a sort of preliminary hearing 
of the charge before Audley and the high officials, evidently with a view to 
get Prior Reynolds and the rest of the accused to retract and make their 
submission to the King, for after reference had been made to the late 
Act (25 Hen. VIII. c. 21) abolishing the spiritual jurisdiction of the Pope 
in this country, the Chancellor, turning to Reynolds, asked him why he 
persisted in going against an opinion to which so many great Lords and 
*' the whole realm in Parliament ” had agreed. In his reply, which was 
very impressive. Prior Reynolds began by remarking that he had intended 
to keep silent like Our Lord before Herod, but since he was called upon 
to clear both “ his own conscience and that of the bystanders,” he would 
declare that he had with him in the matter “ all good men of the Kingdom,” 
besides all the historians, the holy doctors of the Church for the last fifteen 
hundred years, especially St Ambrose, St Jerome, St Augustine and St 
Gregory.” He then added by way of conclusion; ” I am sure that when 
the King knows the truth, he will be very ill-pleased, or rather, indignant 
against certain bishops who have given him such counsel.” The actual 
trial, which began the following day, is chiefly remarkable for the extreme 
reluctance shown by the jury to convict. Resistance by juries in cases of 
State prosecution was extremely rare down to the famous alfair of Bushell 
arising out of the case of Rex v. Penn and Mead in 1670,® while during 

I Edward Foss, Tht Judges of England. Audley puUed down the magnificent priory of 
Christ Church, Aldgate, London, founded in the reign of Henry I, and used the materials for 
building a mansion for himself. To this spoliation was added the seizure of the rich monastery 
of Walden, Essex, and many smaller priories in the same county. He died 1 544. 

* A jury, having acquitted two Quakers, Penn and Mead, for preaching contrary to the 
Conventicle Act, each of the members was fined 1 3s. 4d. by the Recorder of London. 

Bushell, the foreman, refused to pay, and was committed to prison, but was discharged by 
direction of Sir John Vaughan, Chief-Justice of the Common Pleas, on the ground that the cause 
of committal was “ insuficient.” Sec D. Nasmith, Institutes of English Public Low, p. i 79 * 



172 blessed JOHN HOUGHTON [May 4 

the Tudor period, trial by jury, where the Crown' was concerned, was the 
merest shadow of a form. Yet in this instance the whole panel did hold 
out over the word “ maliciously,” which, according to the wording of the 
late Act, seemed to be necessary in order to make the fact of the denial 
of the royal supremacy high treason. Even when the servile occupants 
of the Bench informed them — quite falsely it seems — that the word 
“ maliciously ” was not necessary to be taken into account, the jury 
still refused to pronounce the fatal verdict. In fact, it required a threat 
from Cromwell himself to the effect that further persistence would involve 
them in serious penalties, before their resolution gave way, and most 
reluctantly they brought in the required return of guilty against all the 
accused. On the 4th of May were witnessed the closing scenes of the 
tragedy that ushered in the bloody devastations which marked the schism 
of the nation from Catholic Christendom. The three Carthusian Priors, 
John Haile, a secular priest, and Prior Richard Reynolds suffered at 
Tyburn, one by one, the horrible penalties of treason then in vogue. Prior 
Reynolds was reserved till the last, meantime exhorting the crowds standing 
around to make prayer to Gk)d that the King, who, like Solomon, had 
begun his reign with such goodness and wisdom, might not, through the 
allurements of bad women, end by falling away. All died in their habits — 
a mystic coincidence plainly setting forth the hatred of order and self- 
restraint, which so persistently marked every stage of the rise and progress 
of the great religious revolution both at home and abroad. 


MAY 4 

THE BLESSED JOHN HOUGHTON, THE BLESSED ROBERT 
LAWRENCE, AND THE BLESSED AUGUSTINE WEBSTER, 
CARTHUSIANS, MARTYRS. 

(1487-1535) 

Ever since the epoch of their glorious deaths, these three names have been 
held in special veneration by English Catholics. For they are those of the 
protomartyrs of the Faith in this country, the first heroes of that long 
struggle which, though apparently to end in defeat, really resulted in 
more than keeping alive the historic Faith of England and so enabling it 
to expand and blossom in the happier ye^s of the second spring. John 
Houghton, the coryphsus of that blessed band, was born in 1487 in 
Essex, and studied at Cambridge during the Chancellorship of John Fisher, 
Bishop of Rochester, destined, like himself, to die for St Peter’s See. 

After taking his degree in both the Canon and Civil Law {laurea 



May 4j 


BLESSED JOHN HOUGHTON 173 

utriusque juris), John Houghton returned home. It was the wish of his 
parents that he should marry, but he was already convinced that the 
religious state was his vocation. After a further course of study under 
the direction of certain learned ecclesiastics, he was admitted to priests 
orders. At the age of about twenty-eight, he entered the Charterhouse 
or Carthusian Monastery at West Smithfield, then a semi-rural suburb of 
London. The strict Rule of the Order of St Bruno with its total abstinence 
from meat, almost perpetual fasts, midnight chanting of the Office, long 
silences, and other austerities, were not only rigidly observed by Fr. 
Houghton, but to these austerities he added various other mortifications 
of a personal kind, and he was, moreover, distinguished by his great love 
of humility. It is not surprising, therefore, that this great example of 
monastic virtue should have been chosen Prior of the house of his Order 
at Beau Vale in Nottinghamshire, 1531, but after a few months, the death of 
John Batmanson, the Prior of the London House, brought about the 
election of Prior Houghton as his successor. Within two years of his 
assumption of office occurred the first part of the terrible crisis in the 
Church of England. The King had divorced Queen Catherine of Aragon, 
and a recent Statute of the servile Parliament required all persons over 
sixteen years of age to swear that none were rightful heirs to the Crown 
but the children of the King and his “ lawful wife, Queen Anne.” Prior 
Houghton and his brethren of the Charterhouse were called upon by the 
Royal Commissioners to take the oath. The secluded Community of 
West Smithfield probably knew very little of the outer world and its 
distressing problems, but Prior Houghton replied reasonably enough 
that he could not see how the King’s first marriage, having been solemnized 
in the face of holy Church and, of course, with her full sanction, could 
now be annulled after so many years. Upon this, he and Dom Humphrey 
Middlemore the Procurator were taken prisoners to the Tower. 

In the Tower the two Carthusians had conferences with certain good 
and learned men. The names of these are not given, but the counsellors 
on this occasion may have been the holy Bishop of Rochester (Fisher), 
and the Ex-Chancellor, Sir Thomas More. Both of these had more than 
once declared that they saw no difficulty about swearing to the succession 
to the Crown, as settled by Parliament, a clear proof that the “ divine 
right of Kings ” — that particular offspring of the Reformation, at least 
in the form that we now know it — was no part of the political creed of 
these two illustrious Englishmen. Being persuaded that they might 
with good conscience take the oath of the Succession, the two Carthusians 
did so, and were released. But the night before he left the Tower, Prior 
Houghton dreamt that he should before long return there to win his 
crown. 



174 


BLESSED JOHN HOUGHTON [May 4 

Next year was passed the fatal Act which separated this country from 
the Apostolic See, and doomed the national Church to be what she has 
been for nigh four centuries — a lopped and withered branch, the creature 
of the State, the abiding prey of warring sects and of constant doctrinal 
uncertainty. Like all true and faithful Catholics of the realm, the holy 
Community of the Charterhouse felt that their hour had come. They 
prepared for the supreme trial which they knew to be at hand, by a solemn 
retreat of three days, during which the brethren confessed, and were 
strengthened in their holy resolution by the fervent exhortations of their 
Prior. “ It is better for us,” said he in the course of one of these admoni- 
tions, “ to undergo a short suffering here for our sins than to lay up for our- 
selves eternal torments.” At the conclusion of these moving preparations 
for the coming conflict was celebrated the Mass of the Holy Ghost, during 
which occurred the pretty well-known incident of the sudden “ gentle 
wind” passing through the Chapel, which all present felt and believed 
to be the visible manifestation of Ae Holy Spirit come to strengthen 
them in the time of trial. 

Within a few days the blow had fallen. Prior Houghton, Dom 
Augustine Webster, a monk of the Charterhouse at Sheen, and Prior of 
Axholme in Lincolnshire, and Dom Robert Lawrence, Prior of Beau Vale, 
were in the Tower. They had offered to take the Oath of Supremacy, 
and actually took it, “ as far as the Divine law permits,” but Cromwell, the 
King’s lay Vicar-General, had roughly declared, more suo: ” I will have no 
condition. I care nothing what the Chiuch has held or taught. Will you 
agree to the oath or not ? ” No other words could have more unmistakably 
expressed the real motive of the royal policy, and the Carthusians at once saw 
how matters lay. One and all they declared they could not take the oath, 
for they could not abandon the Catholic Church without whose sanction 
St Augustine had even declared he would not believe the Gospel itself 1 
The trial of the three Priors opened at Westminster Hall on 29th April, 
1535} the point of the indictment, of course, being that they maintained 
that “ the King our Sovereign Lord is not supreme head on earth of the 
Church of England.” The proceedings against the heads of a Com- 
munity, so revered as were the Carthusians, caused an enormous sensation 
or rather indignation in London. Juries in Tudor times where State 
matters were concerned were the merest “ forms of law,” but it required 
the grossest bullying on Cromwell’s part before those empanelled to 
try the reverend prisoners on this occasion could be terrified into returning 
a verdict of guilty. So overjoyed was the savage Henry at this first legd 
victory in the matter of the supremacy, that, it is said, he wished to attend 
the execution of the Priors in person. He did not in the event do so, but 
his servile courtiers were present almost in mass at Tyburn on the 4th 



May 4] BLESSED JOHN HOUGHTON 17.5 

of May, to witness the first bloody drama in England’s spiritual undoing. 
Prior Houghton suffered first. “ Most Holy Lord Jesus, have mercy 
on me in this hour,” he was heard to exclaim as the knife entered his body 
for the quartering part of the fearful sentence. His brave brethren. Priors 
Lawrence and Webster died likewise in their turn. The sufferings of the 
three being purposely prolonged by the use of a thick rope to prevent 
death by strangulation frustrating the final torture as described. With 
the Carthusians also died two others, John Haile (or Hall), Vicar of Isle- 
worth and Richard Reynolds, a Bridgettine monk. 

The Blessed John Houghton is described as being of under middle 
size, venerable of appearance and of a very attractive manner. As he and 
his fellow-sufferers left the Tower to go to death. Sir Thomas More, who 
was there for the same cause, saw the heroic band pass by his cell window, 
and at once exclaimed to his daughter, Margaret Roper, who was visiting 
him; “ Lo, dost thou not see, Meg, that these blessed Fathers be now as 
cheerfully going to their death as bridegrooms to their marriage.” The 
Blessed Thomas was himself to glorify Our Lord by dying for his Vicar 
on earth, and who can doubt but that the fortitude of these the first martyrs 
in that cause — the cause of ecclesiastical unity — ^was of the utmost value 
in heartening the first of the English laity to go forth and die for the same 
most holy end. 

Dom Maurice Chauncey, whose Hhtoria before mentioned is the chief 
authority for the lives of the Carthusian martyrs and confessors of this 
period, was the eldest son of John Chauncey, Esq., of Ardeley, Hertford. 
Anthony Wood states that he studied at Oxford, and he is said to have 
kept some of his terms for the Bar at Gray’s Inn. Later he entered the 
London Charterhouse. He took the Oath of Supremacy — a weakness 
ever deplored by him, but in a sense, it was a " jdix culpa" for he was 
thus spared to ^chronicle the histories of those of his Order who resisted 
unto death, and so save for posterity the edifying details and valuable 
particulars of the beginning of the Tudor Reign of Terror. In 1 537, 
Chauncey went to Bruges and joined the exiled Carthusian Community 
there. He was Prior of the short-lived revived Carthusian Monastery 
at Sheen, Surrey, under Queen Mary, and at the accession of Elizabeth, 
1558, returned to Bruges. There the exiled English Carthusians joined 
wiA the Flemish House till 1 569, when they obtained a foundation of 
their own in St Clare Street. Dom Maurice Chauncey died at Bruges, 
2nd July, 1581, but his brethren ultimately opened a monastery at Louvain. 
Another was founded afterwards at Nieuport, where the Order remained 
till the suppression of the religious houses by Joseph II of Austria {01783, 
Belgium being at that time part of the Emperor’s dominions. The Prior 



BLESSED THOMAS PICKERING 


176 


[May 9 


of Nieuport at the time of this calamity was Father Joseph Williams, who 
c^e to England. Though no mention is made of him in Oliver’s Collec- 
tions or in Kirke’s Biographies of English Catholics, he probably was ' a 
member of the old Catholic family, the Williamses of Cheltenham. He 
died at Litde Malvern Court, the Seat of the Beringtons, 2nd January {not 
2nd June), 1797. His papers, the Seal of the Nieuport Community 
(Sheen Anglorum) and various valuable relics, are now at Parkminster, 
Sussex. This latter monastery, dedicated to St Hugh, Bishop of Lincoln 
(c. 1 1 35-1 200), one of the many canonized Saints of the Carthusian 
Order, was begun on the Parknowle Estate, Cowfold, near Horsham, in 
1873. The building, which is in the Romanesque style, is very large and 
imposing, the entrance being crowned by statues of Our Lady, St John 
the Baptist, and St Bruno. The Chapter-Room contains life-size mural 
paintings of the martyrdoms and sufferings of the Fathers of the London 
Charterhouse, 1535-37. These fine pictures are the work of Monsieur 
A. Sublet of Paris, and the dresses and other details are represented with 
strict historical accuracy. The Chapel of St Hugh contains, among other 
precious relics, portions of the bones of St Thomas of Canterbury and 
St Bruno, and the stole of St Hugh of Lincoln. This great monastery, 
which, with its domains, covers about 640 acres, was, it is said, erected 
to afford a refuge to the members of the Order in France in the event 
of persecution in that country — a foresight which was entirely justified 
in 1902-4, when, owing to the anti-catholic legislation of M. Combes 
and his Government, the whole of the Carthusian Order in France was 
expelled. St Hugh’s was opened in 1882. 

[Dorn Maurice Chauncey: Historia AUqnot nostri Saculi Martyrum. 
First published at Mayence, 1550, and many times sub- 
sequently, a fine edition appearing at Montreuil, 1888. The 
Latin style is of Ciceronian purity. The Lives of the English 
Martyrs, edited by Dom Bede Camm, O.S.B. Cath. Record 
Society, vol. xii. Obituaries. Private Informational 


MAY 9 

PICKERING, THE BLESSED THOMAS, BENEDICTINE 
LAY-BROTHER, MARTYR 
(1621—1679). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

That there was a Popish Plot ” actually afoot years before the luckless 
Sir Edmundbury Godfrey, Justice of the Peace for Middlesex, was found 
transfixed with his own sword on Primrose Hill that misty morning of 



BLESSED THOMAS PICKERING 


177 


May 9] 

17th October, 1678, may be taken for certain, but it had, needless to say, 
nothing to do either with killing the “ Merrie Monarch,” or bringing 
in Louvois and the redoubtable soldiers of the Grand Monarque. Ever 
since the happy Restoration, there had been a more or less continuous 
movement among the English Catholics to better their position, to be 
rid, at least, of some of the more galling penal statutes which, from the 
accession of Elizabeth, had continued to appear with sickening regularity 
almost year by year on the Statute-Book. And of all the devoted lieges 
of the Lothario King, few deserved more in the way of such elementary 
justice than his “ papist ” subjects. The Catholic nobility and gentry 
had so rallied to the cause of his father, the Royal Martyr, that the Parlia- 
ment men had accused “ Charles Stuart ” of fighting at the head of a 
Popish Army. Of the gallant Cavaliers who had fallen in battle from 
Edgehill (1643) to Worcester (1651), it was estimated that nearly half 
belonged to the ancient Faith. Unfortunately, the steps taken by those 
who “ managed ” the cause of the long-suffering recusants were not of 
the wisest kind. The two letters read out at Edward Coleman’s trial 
(Old Bailey, November, 1678), the one relating to offers from the French 
King of money to obtain a Parliament more favourable to the Catholics, and 
the other referring to financial aid from the same source to enable the 
Duke of York to defend himself against the machinations of the Shaftes- 
bury opposition, were simply fatal, and read in conjunction with the 
statements of Oates, Bedloe, Dangerfield, and the rest of the perjurers, 
were more than enough to give colour if not credit to their wildest and 
most villainous assertions. 

But even as things were, it must have required a credulity 
amounting to gullibility, to have believed that Thomas Pickering, 
lay-brother of the Benedictine Order, was a person capable of entering 
into dark affairs of State, much less of encompassing the death of his 
hail-fellow-well-met Sovereign 1 Yet such was the case, and, as the 
saying goes, the matter would have been ludicrous had it not been so 
tragic. 

Thomas Pickering belonged to the same ancient Westmorland stock, 
the Pickerings of Winderwath, from which John Pickering, one of the 
leaders and martyrs of the Pilgrimage of Grace (1536) had come. The 
father of Thomas was a staunch royalist, and he had given his life for his 
King during the Civil War. Thomas, who was born in or about 1621, 
somewhat late in life became a lay-brother in the English Benedictine 
Monastery at Douay. When Charles, II married his short, homely- 
looking Queen, Catharine of Braganza, in 166^, the Chapel at Somerset 
House — ^which had been first set up there by Charles I in 1625 for the 
Use of Queen Henrietta Maria — ^was reopened for Catholic worship, and 

M . 



1^8 BLESSED THOMAS PICKERING [May g 

the care of the place was given to some of the English Benedictine Fathers. 
Brother Pickering accompanied the chaplains to London, and that he 
was an excellent man of business may be gathered from the fact that 
he was appointed Procurator of the Order in London. No details, appar- 
ently, have come down relating to his career while at the Dower-House 
of the Queens of England, where the unattractive — and, therefore, prob- 
ably neglected — Portuguese Queen spent so many hours weekly, playing 
at “ Ombre,” a game she made popular in England, while her Lord, 
the King, amidst dazzling houris and brilliant rakes dallied away Paphian 
nights and days at Whitehall. For his services at Somerset House, Brother 
Pickering had a stipend of a year from the Privy Purse. By all accounts 
he was a man of cheerful, not to say humorous, disposition, but his 
residence at Somerset House and office of Procurator to a great Order 
must, in the crisis that ensued, have made him a marked man. 

When Oates, Bedloe, Dangerfield and the rest of the perjured informers 
came forward with the story of the plot, it was obviously necessary that 
they should make their tale as sensational as possible. Money — even 
French money — to pack a House of Commons with members favourable 
to the Duke of York, would not in those days have seemed so heinous a 
thing, and besides, most persons, at least those in the higher walks of life, 
knew that the piles of gold which the king squandered at the faro table 
and on his relays of mistresses, were certainly not provided by the normal 
Civil List. So nothing less than a scheme to kill the King and bring over 
a Popish Army to destroy the Protestantism of the realm would do if 
popular excitement was to be aroused, and, as the result of it, that outburst 
of virtuous indignation to which, as Macaulay says, the people of this 
country are so liable. If the King could have been got to believe this 
preposterous story the field would have been won. But, unfortunately for 
the real conspirators, Charles knew his long-suffering Catholic subjects 
too well, and owed so much to their tried loyalty, to put the slightest 
credence in the report. Rumours of the supposed intended assassination, it 
is said, reached His Majesty as he was sauntering, as was his wont, in the 
Green Park, attended by Lord Cromartie, grandfather of the Lord Crom- 
artie of the ’45, whose capture at Dunrobin Castle occurred almost on the 
eve of the shambles of Culloden. The bearer of the news was none other 
than the Duke of York himself, but Charles laughed away the glad tidings 
with the well-known jest; “ Brother, I am sure no man in England will 
take away my life to make you King! ” 1 

The die, however, was cast and very soon the whole country was in 
the throes of the vague terrors associated with the Oates Plot. Among 
the several priests and others, indicted for the alleged conspiracy against 

* A. J. Hare, Walks in London, vol. ii. (DaldY, Isbister & Co., 1878.) 



May 9] ■ BLESSED THOMAS HCKERING 179 

the King’s life, were Brother Pickering, Fr. William Ireland, and a 
gentleman, named John Grove. The trial at The Old Bailey on 17th 
December, 1678, is chiefly remarkable for the nature of the evidence 
adduced. Oates and Bedloe positively swore that Pickering and Grove 
had been “ told off ” to shoot the King as he walked abroad in St James’s 
Park, and that the Lay-Brother was to receive 30,000 Masses and Grove 
,^1500 if the murder took place ! The suborned witnesses declared further 
that three attempts had been made, and that His Majesty had only escaped 
death owing to the fact that on one occasion the flint of Pickering’s pistol 
was loose, and that on the others, his weapon either wanted powder or 
ball. These details are interesting as showing that by this time flint-lock 
fire-arms were in common use. Though it was not till the reign of William 
III that the fire-lock musket was generally adopted by the British Army. 
Such a series of mishaps in so momentous an assassination project, ought 
to have exposed the story at once. Besides, Brother Pickering’s whole 
life, as he was able to show, had not given him the slightest acquaintance 
with the use of deadly weapons. The Venerable William Ireland — a 
relation of the Penderels who had saved the King’s life after Worcester — 
who was tried at the same time and on the same absurd charge, called 
several witnesses to prove that he was actually in Staffordshire at the very 
time it was asserted that he was encompassing the death of his Sovereign in 
London. But, in view of the excitement outside, and the biased charge 
of the Lord Chief-Justice, Sir William Scroggs, it is not surprising that 
all the accused were convicted, and after one or two short reprieves 
executed. The martyrdom of Brother Pickering — for his death was 
brought about through perjury and the hatred of the Catholic religion — 
took place at Tyburn, on 9th May, 1 679. When taxed with being a priest, 
he replied with a smile: “ No, I am but a lay-brother.” Just before being 
turned off, he removed his cap, and said merrily to the crowd: “ Is this 
the countenance of a man that dies under so gross a guilt.? ” And so he 
passed out of this life, like Sir Thomas More, cheerfully, and deeply mourned 
by all who really knew him, being, as was said, about the most unlikely 
man for the desperate crime that had been so falsely laid to his charge. 
It is well known that the Queen kept pictures of the Catholic victims of 
the Oates Plot in her apartments, and that in his moments of remorse 
the King would often kneel weeping before them, calling those they re- 
presented holy martyrs, and saying that they knew that he had been forced 
by public opinion to consent to their deaths, but that they were now in 
glory and would pray for him. This we may piously believe they certainly 
did, and also may hold that His Majesty’s death-bed conversion, some 
six years later, was the blessed result of this holy intercession. 



i8o 


BLESSED JOHN ROCHESTER 


[May II 


MAY II 

THE BLESSED JOHN ROCHESTER, AND THE BLESSED 
JAMES WALWORTH, CARTHUSIANS, MARITRS. 

(?-i537) 

We are not surprised to learn that the murders of the holy Carthusian 
Fathers of the London Charter house and of the other faithful Catholics, 
both ecclesiastical and lay, aroused not only throughout England but all 
over the Continent, the greatest resentment against Henry VI 11 . At 
Venice, especially, the people exclaimed vehemently against the per- 
secution, and the English King was generally looked upon everywhere 
abroad as a second Nero. No doubt this consensus of public opinion gave 
even the Tudor despot good reason to pause a while, and though he prob- 
ably would willingly have slaughtered the whole Charterhouse, he deemed 
it more prudent to proceed by other and less staggering means. Two lay 
Commissioners, and afterwards a number of other persons were obtruded 
on the monks, with instructions to harass them in every way. The silence 
was interrupted, the chanting of the Office day and night, disturbed, and 
even the privacy of the cell taken away. Many books were removed on 
the absurd ground of containing errors and heresies, and very soon matters 
became even worse. Low fellows wandered about the cloisters jeering 
at the religious, and now and then even striking them, while the temporal 
government of the house was entrusted to a lay official. The good Fathers 
endured all this grievous persecution with true Carthusian patience. For 
they had the example of their martyred Prior (Blessed John Houghton) 
and his two fellow-martyrs to sustain them, as well as also the teaching and 
remembrance of their late holy Prior, William Tynbigh or Tynbygh. 
This venerated Superior, who died in 1531, was an Irishman, and for 
sixty years he had edified the Community by his extraordinary sanctity. 
God had favoured him with heavenly raptures and ecstasies, and, no doubt, 
but for the confusion, bloodshed, and destruction brought about by the 
wickedn^s of the King, he would have been, in due course, canonized. 
On the anniversary of the deaths of Blessed John Houghton and his com- 
panions, four of the leading monks of the Charterhouse were deported to 
distant houses of the Order, still remaining in England. Of these, the 
Blessed John Rochester and the Blessed James Walworth were sent to the 
Charterhouse at Hull. Great efforts had been made to bend Fr. John 
Rochester to the King’s will. He had been argued with by apostates such 
as the fallen friar, John Maydwell, and publicly preached at by an obsequious 
Bishop of the Court. In sending him and Fr. Walworth to Hull, it was 
hoped that both would immediately be induced to yield, for the Car- 



May 12] BLESSED JOHN STONE i8x 

thusians of Hull had submitted to Henry and taken the oath. But the 
two London Fathers were made of sterner stuff, and so after some months 
among their schismatical brethren, they were removed to York for trial 
for “obstinately affirming that our Lord the King that now is, was not 
supreme head of the Church of England on earth, but that the Bishop 
of Rome was and is the supreme head of the same on earth.” The account, 
therefore, set forth by Froude (History of England) that they died for 
participating in the Pilgrimage of Grace is incorrect. The two holy 
Fathers were hanged but not quartered at York, on i tth May, 1537. 
The bloody part of the sentence, no doubt, was remitted at the urgent 
demand of the people, the good citizens of York often showing a great 
repugnance against a barbarous practice which in the south seems to have 
passed without much, if any, protest. 

[Dom Maurice Chauncey: History of the Carthusian Martyrs. 

Dom R. Bede Camm: Lives of the Eng. Martyrs^ vol. i.j 


MAY 12 (?) 

STONE, THE BLESSED JOHN, AUGUSTINIAN, MARTYR 

(i’-ifdS) 

Very little appears to be known of the Blessed John Stone, so little, indeed, 
that even the date of his martyrdom is a matter of uncertain t)’. The day 
is usually given as the 12th May, 1538. Yet in December of that year, 
Ing^'^orth, one of the royal visitors of the Augustinian Monastery, parish 
. of St George, Canterbury, to which the holy martyr belonged, made 
complaint of the " insolence ” of one of the friars in the matter of opposing 
the King’s ecclesiastical supremacy, and it appears that the recalcitrant 
person in question was none other than the subject of this notice. John 
Stone is believed to have been a Doctor of Theology, and to have for many 
years greatly edified his brethren, the Augustinian Friars, by his piety. 
When the King’s supremacy became the law of the land, Fr. Stone was 
cast into prison, presumably at Canterbury, for refusing his assent to it. 
That he was not forthwith put to death may be taken as a tribute to his 
great local influence, the tyrant, no doubt, being anxious to win over a 
man who was held in so much popular esteem, and to strengthen a bad 
cause by the support of a distinguished name. In his Dialogi Sex, Nicholas 
Harpsfield, Archdeacon of Canterbury, relates that when in prison Fr. 
Stone, after a fast of three days, heard a voice bidding him be of good 
cheer, and not be afraid to suffer with constancy for the truth of the matter 
then in question. No narrative has come down of the martyrdom of the 
Blessed John Ston^ the only record is the entry in the Account Book of the 



ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 


182 


[May 13 


Chamberlain of the City of Canterbury for the cost of the gallows, ropes, 
hurdle, halters, etc., required for the execution at the usual place for these 
grim occurrences, the Dane John or Dongeon. Perhaps other references 
to the tragedy are omitted through forgetfulness on the part of the officials, 
as the Corporation may have been then preparing for the State reception 
of the Royal Bluebeard’s fourth wife, Anne of Cleves — “ the great Flanders 
Mare!” of Henry’s coarse wit — ^who soon, poor lady! was glad safely to 
retire on a pension as “the King’s adopted Sister!” In conclusion it 
may be added that Fr. Luigi Torelli, O.S.A., in his Historia Ecclesiastica 
della Revoluzione (T Inghliierra^ Rome, 1594, gives the day of the martyr’s 
death as 12th May, 1538, but, as stated above, the actual date remains a 
matter of conjecture. 

[B. Camm: English Martyrs^ vo\. \. J Stubbs; Annals oj England, 
E. Hasted; History oj Kentl\ 


MAY 13 

BELLARMINE, ST ROBERT, CARDINAL, BISHOP, 

AND DOCTOR OF THE CHURCH 
(1542-1622) 

Though most persons of an antiquarian turn are aware that the grotesque, 
semi-globular stoneware jugs with the heavily bearded face, are called 
“ Bellarmines ” after the famous Cardinal and controversialist, whose 
personal appearance these “ Greybeards ” were at the outset intended to 
satirize, not many know that Chelsea Hospital was originally founded 
in James I’s reign by Dean Mathew Sutcliffe of Exeter, as a College, 
chiefly to train up disputants to answer the polemical works of the same 
redoubtable prelate. “Controversy College,” Chelsea, as it came to be 
known in James I’s reign, does not appear to have long survived its founda- 
tion, but the De Controversariis of Robert Francis Romulus Bellarmine, 
Jesuit theologian, and Archbishop of Capua, are the mines from which 
will be drawn, probably for all time, the erudition required to defend the 
teaching of holy Church, as far as Scripture, the Fathers, and the earlier 
Church history are concerned. 

The illustrious scholar and priest thus introduced, was born at Monte- 
pulciano, on the Tuscan Hills, 4th October, 1542. His father, Vincenzio 
Bellarmino, does not appear to have been of noble rank, though his mother, 
Cynthia, was the sister of Cardinal Cervini, who in 1555, became Pope 
Marcellus II, only to die after a reign of but three weeks. The future 
Cardinal was educated at the Jesuit College of his native town, where he 
acquired a wonderful facility in writing Latin — a great acquisition in an 



ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 


May 13] 


183 


age when Latin had not only risen again to a new life of Ciceronian purity, 
but had become the language of universal scholarship, familiar intercourse 
and diplomacy. Young Bellarmine was devoted to Virgil, and in after- 
life wrote poems of Augustan elegance, which are regarded as of great 
merit. Among these may be cited the Pater Superni Luminis, which forms 
part of the Vesper Office of the Feast of St Mary Magdalen. Like Bishop 
Hay and Cardinal Newman, the future master-theologian excelled also on the 
violin, though the instrument in use then was the heavily carved, some- 
what harsh-toned, bulky variety, with which Baltazarini and his orchestra 
once charmed or astonished the music-loving Court of Queen Elizabeth. 

It was the intention of Signor Bellarmino to make his son a lawyer — 
from the University of Padua, where some twenty years later the “ Admir- 
able ” Crichton was to amaze professors and students by his encyclopasdic 
knowledge and graceful accomplishments. But vocations, like good marri- 
ages, are made in Heaven, and at the age of eighteen, the future Cardinal 
felt himself called to the Society of Jesus, which he joined, 21st September, 
1 560. He studied philosophy — but did not love it — at the Roman College, 
and then did some teaching at Florence. It was while there, that he prayed 
fervently to God to cure his persistent ill health chiefly, headaches, so 
that he might be able to labour for the cause of the Church — a prayer 
which was rewarded by another half a century of life, every hour of which 
was fully taken up with spiritual and scholastic labours. After teaching 
Greek at Florence in addition to other branches of the “ Humanities,” 
Bellarmine was sent to Padua by his Provincial, where he not only studied 
divinity, but also preached, though at this time but twenty-two. His 
erudite sermons, admirable delivery, and natural eloquence, soon drew 
crowded congregations. The fame of the young Chrysostom crossed the 
Alps, so that his presence was required at Milan by St Charles Borremeo. 
But divinity was already recognized as Bellarmine’s great speciality, and 
he was sent to Louvain to lecture on the Summa of St Thomas. He 
travelled thither in company with Dr William Allen, the recent Founder 
of Douay College, and a Cardinal-to-be. At Louvain he succeeded 
apparently, in convincing Michael Baius that his peculiar notions on grace 
were really heretical, and in practice would be an attempt to graft a kind of 
Calvinism on to the Catholic Church. Unfortunately, this timely warning 
either did not reach or did not impress Baius’s pupil, Cornelius Jansen, 
later Bishop of Ypres, and hence the posthumous publication of that prelate’s 
Augustinus and the beginning of the Jansenist heresy, the effects of which 
are still felt throughout the Christian world. 

While at Louvain, the indefatigable student-preacher made copious notes 
and extracts from the Ancient Fathers and ecclesiastical writers, both Greek 
and Latin, which were of vast use to him when confronting the serried 



ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 


[May 13 


184 

polemical attacks of tlie non-catholic world. This compendium, if such it 
may be called, was afterwards published under the title of Be Scriptorihui 
Ecchsiastich. He also wrote the admirable commentary on the Psalms 
which has ever since been of such use to the clergy and liturgical students 
generally. Truly, they were giants in those days, and Robert Bellarmine, 
for all his physical shortness of stature, was the foremost of theml 

These exacting labours, needless to say, ended in a serious illness. 
Change of climate, especially a return to one’s own country, was a favourite 
remedy at that time in nearly all cases of sickness where the patient was 
a foreigner. So much so, indeed, that the Roman medical faculty often 
advised ailing students at the English College to go back for a time to 
their native land — ^the land of racks, ropes and quartering blocks I Fr. 
Bellarmine was ordered back to Italy by Fr. Mercurianus, the General of 
the Society, and not long after his arrival a complete recovery was the result. 

The endless disputes about religion engendered by the Reformation, 
and the casting away of the principle of divine authority in the Church 
by the ever-increasing sects of Protestantism, called for a special faculty 
to deal with the multifarious objections and “ difficulties ” brought against 
Catholicism. A Chair of Controversy had about this time been established 
at the Roman College and Fr. Robert Bellarmine was now appointed 
to it. He lectured constantly to the students on the various heresies and 
misbeliefs that were distracting Christendom, and tossing so many per- 
plexed individuals about “ with every wind of doctrine.” The result of 
these lectures, carefully prepared and written down, was that magmm 
opus of polemical learning, the famous Bisputatmies de Controversariis Chris- 
tiana Fidei adversus hujus Temporis Hareticos, in four large volumes. It 
is no exaggeration to say that this is one of the epoch-making works of 
the world. In these days of dictionaries and encyclopaedias, cheap editions 
and popular prints on almost every subject under the sun, it is, indeed, 
learning-made-easy spelt with a capital E ! But in Bellarmine’s time, 
erudition had to be dug either out of unpublished MS. — often crabbed, 
faded, and, of course, unindexed, or else scarcely less painfully acquired 
from the mighty two-column folios in Latin or Greek, or both, so dear to 
that unwearying and amazingly learned age. If the Author of the Dis- 
putationes had written nothing else, he would have done enough to make 
his reputation secure for all time, but the tomes in question are but part 
of a literary output that might well have taxed the capacity of three or 
four strenuous scholars to produce. 

The volumes on Controversy, of course, produced a storm of polemical 
opposition. Not only that, but special chairs and professorships were 
set up in England, Germany, and other Protestant countries to answer 
the champion of papistry. Nay, more, it was made a capital offence in 



May 13] ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 185 

England even to have a copy of the work, but this did not prevent the 
London and University booksellers from doing a “ roaring trade ” in 
Bellarmines, though how the law was thus more or less openly evaded 
is not clear. Perhaps the privilege of selling the otherwise banned book 
was made a monopoly, like that in sweet wines and other luxuries granted 
by Elizabeth to such favourites as the Earl of Essex of the tragic ring 
fame. Like St Thomas Aquinas three centuries before, Bellarmine was 
careful to state the case of his opponents before proceeding to answer 
them. This he did not only with “ meticulous ” scrupulosity, but also 
with what was an extreme rarity in those days — the greatest courtesy. 
Probably no Catholics, and very few Protestants, feel disposed to indulge 
in the slightest regret on account of the language used by that past-master 
of scurrility, Luther, in his theological passages at arms with Henry VII 7 . 
But dubbing an antagonist who does not see eye to eye with one on these 
matters, an ass, a liar, or a pig, is scarcely conducive to sweet reason, and 
the fashion set by Luther unfortunately soon became a recognized part of 
the disputant’s stock-in-trade. To their lasting praise, the Jesuits from 
the first made it a rule to observe in controversy the charities and courtesies 
of life, and certainly in all his long years of wordy warfare the illustrious 
Bellarmine never forget the old adage which reminds us that the hand of 
iron is no softer for the velvet glove 1 

As if his own stupendous researches and labours were not enough, 
the arch-controversialist lent valuable aid to others in the matter of the 
making of books. He undertook the revision of Fr. Salmeron’s monu- 
mental Commentary on the New Testament (1579), and assisted Pope 
Sixtus V in his edition of the writings of St Ambrose. He was one of the 
Commission appointed by Clement VIII on the new edition of the Vulgate, 
and he wrote the Preface which has since remained as the standing Intro- 
duction to that well-known impression which supplanted the notoriously 
faulty one of Sixtus V. He also wrote for the King of Poland (Sigis- 
mund III.?) a short but admirable treatise on government, entitled The 
Duties of a Christian Prince. How far the excellent advice contained therein 
was acted upon does not appear, but in Poland, it was not so much 
the nominal sovereign who was at fault, as a rule, as the absurd system 
of government where, thanks to the insane Liberum Veto, a single member 
of the Senate could forbid any measure however beneficial or desirable. 

Though authorship, especially theological authorship, and worldly 
affairs rarely go well together, there are notable exceptions, and Bellar- 
mine was one of these. He accompanied Cardinal Gaetsni to Paris in 
1590 as secretary and theologian to that diplomatist, who went apparently 
as nuncio to the provisional Government of the League. The Cardinal 
and his fidus Achates managed to get into Paris, then besieged by the forces 



i86 


ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 


[May 13 

of Henry of Navarre, who some three years later was to win the Crown of 
France through the Mass. The Cardinal and his able secretary experienced 
the horrors of a siege of Paris, sampling perforce the daily fare of cats and 
rats that formed the only available diet of the citizens, but all the time 
labouring at the negotiations which were to have so much to do with the 
pacification of France. Belkrmine returned home after having not only 
more than helped to achieve these satisfactory results, but with the sincere 
friendship and admiration of Henry Quatre, who, like all great men, recog- 
nized true worth and ability in others. From 159^ Bellarmine 

was Rector of the Roman College, and in the latter year he became Provincial 
at Naples. During this last period appeared the two Catechisms, which, 
like his other works, met with marked and continued success. 

Much against his will, but entirely in accordance with his deserts, 
the most renowned priest and theologian in Europe perhaps at that time, 
was, in March 1599, elevated to the rank of Cardinal. Despite the religious 
rancour of the age, there were no doubt generous souls not of the fold 
who felt glad that Rome had at length done honour to the claims of her 
mightiest champion. Notwithstanding the splendours of his new position, 
the “ Red Jesuit,” as Cardinal Bellarmine came now to be familiarly called, 
practised in private all the simplicity and austerities of his former life, 
continuing to live in a poorly-furnished room and to distribute most of his 
revenue to the needy. He refused the many costly gifts which custom 
or courtesy made usual at his reception of the red hat, and in other ways 
showed that he wished to be like Henry Edward Manning in our own time, 
“the poor man’s Cardinal.” In April, 1602, the burden of the Arch- 
bishopric of Capua was added to the compulsory grandeur of the Sacred 
College. As prelatical ruler of the famous city where Hannibal’s victorious 
army met with its undoing, Cardinal Bellarmine proved himself a model 
Bishop. He preached frequently and made careful visitations, saw to the 
improvement of the parochial clergy and the efficient maintenance of the 
various educational and charitable foundations of the province. He drew 
up another excellent treatise, one entitled On the Duties of a Bishop, 
which, allowing for the changes which time and new conditions have 
wrought, still remains a most useful and edifying enchiridion in nearly 
all matters of episcopal solicitude. 

Almost to the end, were the days of this untiring worker spent m con- 
troversies, one of them being with Fra Paolo (Pietro Sarpi), the notorious 
Prior of the Servites, who tried, but in vain, to get Venice to imitate the 
schismatical example of England, and whose History oj the Council oj Trent 
abounds in what looks very like studied misstatements. The other was 
with no less an antagonist than James I of England. At the suggestion, it 
is said, of Archbishop Abbot, the King had caused to be introduced into the 



May 13] ST ROBERT BELLARMINE 187 

Oath of Allegiance, which was drawn up for the special case of his Catholic 
subjects, a clause in which the traditional deposing power of the Pope was 
styled “ heretical and damnable.” Now this phrase is theologically false. 
The docteine of deposition may be politically inexpedient, and it has long 
been obsolete as a fact, but to describe it as ” heretical and damnable ” 
is quite outside the mark, and Rome condemned the oath. The King’s 
book, Tnplici Nodo, Triplex Cuneus^ was met by the Cardinal — ^writing as 
Matthew Torti — in his famous Apologia, This work chiefly explained to 
the Stuart Sovereign the varying meanings of such terms as “ heretical,” 
“ erroneous,” “ non-expedient,” “ rash,” etc., and the result was that His 
Majesty, who prided himself on his skill in divinity, got very cross, but 
undoubtedly the lesson inculcated by the book was the extreme import- 
ance of knowing the exact meaning of technical words and phrases before 
going forth to attack any system, ecclesiastical or otherwise. The last 
notable work of this Lion of the Fold of Judah was the l>e Potestate Papae, 
which at once came into conflict with the Erastian regalism which, ever 
since the extravagant exaltation of the civil power by the bulk of the 
reformers, had established itself all over Europe as the new C^sarism. 
The De Potestate was, of course, denounced by the supporters of lay 
supremacy everywhere for its calm but outspoken defence of the rights 
of the Holy See, and the book was suppressed in several states. Copies 
of the book were even burnt by order of the Parliament of Paris for its 
able exposure of the “ rights of the Gallican Church ” — to be tyrannized 
over by courtiers and lawyers — appealed with irresistible force to every 
candid mind. In 1621, the Cardinal Archbishop of Capua felt that his 
time was drawing near. He obtained leave to retire to prepare for the 
great and irrevocable change, to practise that “ Art of Dying Well,” in 
fact, to quote the title of one of his smaller spiritual works. His last days 
were spent in the Jesuit Novitiate in Rome, and there on 17th September, 
1622, the Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis, the illustrious defender of 
the doctrines of the Universal Church passed to his reward. Apart from 
the vast learning of the deceased, his genial nature and sense of justice, 
even to the bitterest foes, had long been recognized, and many who had 
never known the illustrious scholar must have felt the poorer for the loss 
of such a man. He had always tried, as we have seen, even amidst the 
most acute controversies, to see and state the case of his opponents with 
perfect fairness, and to avoid those unworthy tactics and methods which 
do so much to embitter the contest and confuse the issues. He had 
shown much kindness to Galileo, but wisely advised that distinguished, but 
very impulsive, astronomer not to put forward as established facts what 
were, after all, at that time, but unproved suppositions. In this the great 
Cardinal showed not only the traditional wisdom of the Church, but also 



i88 


BLESSED MICHAEL GARICOITS 


[May 14 


that of every sensible man, and well would it have been for the famous 
physicist, and many of a like mind after him, if this wise and friendly 
counsel had been acted upon.^ 

The wonderful learning and industry of Cardinal Bellarmine are apt 
to make us forget his true sanctity. He was ever the man of prayer, seeking 
light from above rather than from the sources of human knowledge, and 
as we have seen, ever seeking the lowest place. It is now pretty generally 
known that but for the opposition of the Erastian governments and certain 
prelates of so-called Catholic countries of Europe, this illustrious defender 
of the Faith would have been canonized long ago. At least this is to be 
gathered from a letter of Benedict XIV to Cardinal de Tencin, where the 
reason of the delay is ascribed “ to the sad circumstances of the times.” 
The cause of the great Cardinal which was first introduced in 1627, and 
reintroduced in 1675, 1714, 1752, and 1832, reached a definite stage in 
1923, when the Master of Controversy was solemnly declared Blessed by 
Pius XI on 13th May of that year. He was Canonized by the same 
Pontiff on 29th June, 1930, and on 17th September, 1931, proclaimed 
a Doctor of the Church. 

[Excellent Lives and Biographical Notices of Cardinal Bellarmine 
abound in many sources. What may be described as the 
official Life appeared in 1613. It is an autobiography in 
Latin which the Cardinal wrote at the request of the Fathers 
Vitelleschi. It was reprinted (1887) by Dollinger & Reusch. 
Shorter Lives are to be found in the Biographie Universelle, 
Paris, 1841. C. Knight’s Penny Encyclopedia (1840), and 
The Catholic Encyclopedia, vol ii. Blessed Robert Bellarmine, 
by the Rev. James Broderick, S.J. (Catholic Truth Society), 
admirably summarizes the chief events in the history of this 
mighty scholar to whom Catholic Christendom owes so much.] 

MAY 14 

ST MICHAEL, FOUNDER OF THE AUXILIARY PRIESTS 
OF THE SACRED HEART OF JESUS 
(1797-1863) 

It is not unlikely that even if the Blessed Michael Garicolts had not founded 
a Congregation already illustrious in the missionary annals of the Church, 

1 The question of the Sun being the centre of the Universe had alrcadj been taught openlj 
as a theory by Copernicus (1473-1 543). GaUleo’s offence consisted in teaching it cs a f^ct and 
in detriment to certain statements in Holy Scripture, notably, Josue i. 13, 14. Nearly all the 
great minds of the age, Catholic and Protestant, including Lord Bacon, were opposed to Galileo 
on this point. Galileo was pensioned by the Pope and died in his own house at Arcatri, 1642. 



May 14 ] • BLESSED MICHAEL GARICOITS 189 

he might have become a second Curd d’Ars. Like the glory of the secular 
clergy of France, Pere Garicoits was born of poor, labouring parents, 
his father being Arnaud Garicoits, and his mother, Gratienne, both living 
at the time of the future Founder’s birth (1797), at Ibarre, a hamlet of 
Basse Navarre, not far from the Spanish frontier. Michael learned to 
read and write at the village school, but soon had to leave to assist his 
parents on their little farm. After two or three years spent as a shepherd 
at Oneix in the canton of St Palais, he returned home to make his first 
Communion towards the. end of 1810. But pastoral cares of the natural 
order were not young Garicoit’s vocation. He felt strongly drawn to the 
ecclesiastical state. But as the aspirant to Holy Orders was quite without 
means, the good Curd of St Palais kindly interested himselr in the lad, 
and got him admitted as a day pupil at the local College. After that young 
Garicoits entered the domestic service of the Bishop of Bayonne, while 
continuing to attend the day classes of a school in the district. He studied 
his philosophy in the junior Seminary of Aire, and in 1819, began his 
divinity course in the diocesan Seminary of Dax. On 20th December, 
1823, he was raised to the priesthood in the Cathedral of Bayonne, by 
Mgr, d’ Astros, the Bishop of the diocese. Early the following year, he 
went as curate (yicaire) to the old parish priest of Cambo, where he re- 
mained two years, acquiring there a wide local reputation both as a 
confessor and a preacher. He established in the place a great devotion 
to the Sacred Heart, and also the practice of frequent Communion. The 
Abbd Garicoits was recalled from Cambo in 1825 to teach philosophy 
in the Seminary at B^tharram, and also to restore a better spirit among 
the students. He soon obtained a great ascendency over the latter, both 
as a spiritual director and a man of great sanctity and remarkable common 
sense. He also acted as Chaplain to the Sisters of the Cross at Igon, a 
Community of nuns founded by the Venerable Pfere Fournet. It is sup- 
posed that the Abbd Garicoits got his ideas of a religious institute from 
these good sisters, but be this as it may, there was at this time a movement 
on foot for sending missionaries among the country-folk, who, remote 
from towns, were often left with scarcely any religious instruction. After 
a retreat under the Jesuit Fathers at Toulouse, in 1832, M. Garicoits 
unfolded to Mgr. d’Arbon, the Bishop of the diocese, his plan for an 
Institution of priests for ministering to the little-cared-for masses at home 
and abroad, but under episcopal direction. His Lordship greatly approved 
of the scheme, and in 18333 M. Garicoits, with four other priests Peres 
Simon, Gudmon, Chirou and Larroiiy — inaugurated the great work. 
The success, almost from the first, was very great, and from this organiza- 
tion came other missionary institutes, notably the “ Congregation of the 
Missionaries of the Immaculate Conception,” who had charge of the 



190 BLESSED MICHAEL GARICOITS [May 14 

Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, from 1863 to 1903. The title of 
"Priests of the Sacred Heart,” was conferred upon Pere Garicoits’ 
Foundation in 1841 by Mgr. La Croix, successor of Mgr. d’Arbon in the 
See of Bayonne. The same bishop also gave the Fathers their first Con- 
stitutions, The vows to be taken were not perpetual, and the missionaries, 
as stated, were to be entirely under the control of the Bishop, who even 
nominated the Superior. 

From 1840 to 1850, the Fathers of the Sacred Heart were more than 
occupied with the work of “ evangelizing ” the south, south-east and south- 
west districts of France. Chapels and schools were erected in out of the 
way localities, others rebuilt, and organized instruction given to large 
numbers of persons hitherto out of reach of the regular parishes.' 

In 1850, a great wave of emigration passed over the Pyrenees similar 
to the emigration mania that set in among the Highlanders of Scotland 
not long after the accession of George III. In that year, great numbers 
of the Basque population left to settle in the Argentine, and by arrange- 
ment between Mgr. La Croix and the Bishop of Buenos Ayres, several 
of the Fathers of the Sacred Heart went to South America to attend to the 
spiritual wants of the large bodies of emigrants who were making their 
homes here and there across the vast plains watered by the Rio de la Plata. 
By 1 859, a flourishing College for the rising emigrant population had been 
opened at Buenos Ayres under the direction of the Fathers and their 
assistants. Another foundation was made at Montevideo in 1861, where 
a fine church dedicated to the Immaculate Conception, and a flourishing 
school soon marked the success of the new enterprise. 

In 1851, the Institute received permission to elect its own Superior, 
but the effort that was made to get the vows made perpetual was not 
successful. About 1853, the health of the zealous Founder began to 
break down. But for ten years longer the good Father continued to struggle 
on, attending to the multifarious works connected with the. missionary 
enterprises of the Fathers in France and South America, His last year 
was one of almost continued suffering, which terminated on 14th May, 
1863, the Feast of the Ascension, at 3 in the morning. The funeral 
oration of the deceased was pronounced by Mgr. La Croix, Bishop ot 
Bayonne, who paid an eloquent tribute to the labours of the self-sacrificing 
and holy priest who had, as it were, gone forth into the highways and 


* Tiis spiritual destitution of many parts of France may be said to have begun vrith the 
Wars of Religion (1562-93), during which thousands of churches, schools and reh'gious houses 
were destroyed by the Huguenots, and many of these were never rebuilt. Another wholesale 
destruction followed in the wake of the Revolution. The problem of how to reach the isolated 
mastes of the people was one of the many vast difficulties that faced the hierarchy of the Con. 
coidat (1801), but face it the clergy and faithful laity did, and with wonderful success. 



May 15] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE 191 

byways especially the latter — and compelled all not hopelessly obdurate 
to come in. The cause of P^re Michael Garicoits was informally 
commenced in 1886 by Mgr. Ducellier, Bishop of Bayonne, and on 9th 
May, 1899, the Congregation of Rites signed the introduction of the 
Cause. On the loth of December, 19^6, Benedict XV solemnly pro- 
claimed the heroism of the virtues of the Venerable Founder, who was 
Beatified by Pius XI in 1924, and Canonized by Pius XII, 6th July, 1947. 

[Ahnanach CathoUque Francais pour 1923. (Bloud et Gay, Editeurs, 
3 Rue Garanciere, Paris.).] 


MAY 15 

DE LA SALLE, ST JOHN BAPTIST, FOUNDER OF THE 
BROTHERS OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS 
(1651-1719) 

We are apt to forget in reading Edward Healy Thompson’s Life oj Mon- 
sieur Olier that many of the odious pictures of contemporary vice and 
irreligion so vividly described by the author, were by no means confined 
to Paris. In all the great cities of France, years after the holy Founder 
of St Sulpice had gone to his reward, similar reprehensible conditions and 
occurrences were rife owing to the terrible wars of Louis XIV, causing, 
as they did, demoralization, ruinous taxation, the invasion of hostile armies, 
and the loss of the lives — and livelihoods — of thousands. Then, the spirit 
of Jansenism and the fashionable vices of the age had inflicted great wounds 
on religion. So in most of the great towns, chiefly those of the north, 
there was both growing up and grown up, a vast population of vicious, 
and often semi-destitute youth of both sexes, whose circumstances and 
manners boded no good for France. To provide a Christian education, 
with its solid if elementary knowledge and sound moral training, for the 
class in question, was the work of St John Baptist de la Salle. The Founder 
of the Brothers of the Christian Schools was born at Rheims, 30th April, 
1651 — the same year as Fdnelon — being the eldest of the several children 
of the Sieur Louis de la Salle and Nicolle de Moet de Brouillet, his wife. 
The Sieur de la Salle belonged to the noblesse de Robe, or the Bar and 
it was his wish that his son should follow the same high and exclusive 
profession. With this end in view, Jean Baptist received a very careful 
classical education at the College des Bon Enfants and at the University 
of Rheims, where he took the degree of Master of Arts at the unusually 
early age of eighteen. Two years before this, however, Jean Baptist had 
finally persuaded his father that his career lay in the Church and not the 



192 ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE [May 15 

Law, and had been formally installed as Canon of the Cathedral of Rheims. 
He had already received, at the somewhat premature age of eleven, the 
tonsure (i ith March, 1662). Such things were done as a matter of course 
in France at that time, and no doubt the abuse was mainly the developed 
result of the Leo X-Francis I Concordat of 1516, which virtually handed 
over the Church of Charlemagne and St Louis to the State, to become 
largely one of its many departments and a rich field of aristocratic favour- 
itism, and other unseemly anomalies. The young de la Salle, having been 
duly elected and enrolled a member of the ancient Chapter of Rheims, 
left for Paris in October, 1670 — ^to commence his theological studies! 
His reading at St Sulpice was made chiefly under the direction of the 
famous ascetical writer, the Abb£ Tronson, and, as became a future Saint 
and great religious Founder, our youthful Canon was scrupulous in the 
observance of every exercise and rule. Then came, between 1671 and 
1672, what must have appeared in every way a great calamity. Jean 
Baptist lost both his parents by death, and it became necessary for him to 
return to Rheims to attend to the management of the paternal property 
and the future of his young brothers and sisters. While engaged on this 
arduous secular business, he pursued as far as circumstances permitted 
his divinity studies, and on 2nd June, 1672, he received the subdiaconate 
from Ladislaus Jonnart, Archbishop of Cambrai. He wished to resign 
his canonr}', but this was refused. It was not until 9th April, 1678 — owing 
to the exigencies of family affairs — that he was promoted to the sacred 
priesthood by the Archbishop of Rheims. He graduated D.D. in 1680. 
From the purely ambitious point of view, the recently ordained priest 
must have seemed to have had the ecclesiastical world of France at his feet. 
His noble birth, distinguished learning and attainments, no less than his 
known piety and rectitude, all pointed him out as a very likely candidate 
for the violet or even the scarlet robes of the exalted Gallican hierarchy 
of the splendid age of Louis XIV. In addition to all this, he was a man of 
commanding presence, with a complex countenance that somewhat re- 
minded the beholders of his two illustrious contemporaries — the Eagle 
of Meaux and the Dove of Cambrai, His destiny, however, if less 
spectacular, was to be far more lasting and important, for he was to be 
nothing less than the Founder of what can be truly designated the first 
system of Christian elementary education in the modern sense. 

No doubt the care that Jean Baptist was called upon to give to his 
own brothers and sisters first drew his attention to the vast importance 
of this work for the rising generation, but he does not seem to have at 
first looked upon it as his destined field of labour. There was at this time 
at Rheims a very worthy and learned Canon, named Nicholas Roland, to 
whom de la Salle was greatly attached. Canon Roland had much at heart 



May 15] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE 193 

an orphanage and also free school for girls under the direction of the 
“ Sisters of the Child Jesus.” At his death, the Canon entrusted the care 
of the entire Institution to his young friend. This first lesson in school 
management was soon followed by another and more permanent one. 
In March, 1679, ^ of Rheims, named Madame Maillefer, opened a 
poor school for boys and committed the charge of it to a devout layman, 
Adrien Nyel, who had already spent many years in teaching the children 
of the labouring class. Madame Maillefer asked Canon de la Salle to 
assist in this good work, which he did, and with such success that later 
he was called upon to exercise his administrative ability with reference to 
another and similar foundation in the parish of St Jacques. The often 
miserable lives of poor schoolmasters in the past, so vividly portrayed 
almost in our own time by M. Alexandre Erckmann-Chatrian, must 
have also impressed de la Salle, for he now interested himself in the five 
masters of the schools in question, inviting them to his table, making them 
presents of food, money, etc., and even drawing up for their use a sort of 
rule of life. With the vision of the Saint and the man of sound common 
sense, he saw that pedagogy ought not to be a wretched drudgery, but a 
profession of the highest importance, and that the status and behaviour 
of its leaders must inevitably react, favourably or the reverse, on the pupils. 
But de la Salle did more than this. He invited the before-mentioned 
masters to live in his house, a step which brought about his first real cross 
in the matter, for his own brothers objected to the family mansion being 
turned into what would now be called, an " Ecole Normale,” and con- 
sequently left him. Then, all but two of the would-be beneficiaries, finding 
the semi-monastic life of the Maison La Salle too hard, left also. Nothing 
daunted, de la Salle obtained other candidates, trained them well, and soon 
found the ancestral home too small, and so another and larger house was 
taken near the Rue Neuve, now La Rue Gambetta. In 1683, Canon de 
la Salle, much against the wish of the Chapter of Rheims, resigned his 
stall, and the next year he distributed his own private fortune to the poor. 
The Founder of the Schools of the poor and humbler classes undoubtedly 
felt, that example is better than precept, and that “ God would provide.” 
Between 1681 and 1692, the Community in the Rue Neuve may be said 
to have taken definite shape. A simple vow of obedience, renewable year 
by year, was established for the ** Novices,” though that name was not 
used, while the ordinary three monastic vows were reserved for those about 
whose vocation there was no doubt. The death of a very brilliant Brother, 
Henri L’Heureux (December, 1690) before his ordination, seems to have 
decided de la Salle that his Community should be for Brothers alone. The 
service of the altar, he was convinced, would interfere seriously with the 
great object of the Institute — the Christian education of the masses. From 



194 ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE [May 15 

about this time, the name, “ Brothers of the Christian Schools,” became the 
usual designation of the members, and it may be added that their char- 
acteristic habit, ue., a black cassock, thick, strong shoes, broad-brimmed 
hat, and in winter the capote or cloak, dates also from this period, being 
suggested, it appears, by the Mayor of Rheims as a practical dress suffici- 
ently characteristic and suitable everywhere.^ A school for very young 
aspirants to the Brotherhood was also established, as well as a house of 
studies for teachers who came from other parishes to be trained in the 
system which was now spreading over France. A house for retreats and 
holiday recreation was established at Vaugirard, near Paris, and a Sunday- 
School — the first in France — for the instruction not only of children but 
also of working youths in the book part of their trades and callings. An- 
other school in the parish of St Sulpice was likewise opened chiefly for 
the children of the Scots and Irish refugees who had followed James II 
to France. The exiled King subsequently visited this useful foundation, 
and expressed himself as delighted with the methods and results of the 
place. Meanwhile, great afflictions were trying the holy Founder. The 
“ invasion ” of Paris by the Christian Brothers was naturally viewed with 
much jealousy by the proprietors of private scholastic establishments, while 
various false charges of maladministration of certain trust funds were also 
brought against de la Salle, and in November, 1702, the Cardinal de 
Noailles after a sort of inquiry deposed him from his Superiorship. His 
successor the Abbe Bricot was received with noisy opposition from the 
Brothers — “ M. de la Salle is our only Superior — ^we will have no other 1 ” 
they said. The righteous indignation of the confraternity ultimately carried 
the day, and de la Salle, who had submitted to authority without a word, 
remained Superior, but his troubles did not end here. The Parkmetit of 
Paris espoused the cause of some of the private teachers, and the Christian 
schools in the capital were closed, except a few for which special authorization 
had to be obtained from an official styled “ the Precentor.” But outside 
Paris, branches were being opened everywhere in France. The clergy of 
Chartres specially pleaded for a school for their city so as to counteract^ 
as they said: one of the chief causes of the indocility, the immodesty, 
the ignorance, and visible immorality of the children of the town I” 

De la Salle moved about from place to place wherever his presence 
seemed to be required, either to consolidate his epoch-making work, or 
to compose difficulties. He lived at times at Grenoble, Rouen, Marseilles 

^ Apart from the rabat or •- ‘ fall,” the habit of the Christian Brothers is not a survival, as 
supposed by some, of the ordinary French ecclesiastical dress of Pre-Revolution days. Until 
1789, French parish priests wore usually the ordinary male attire of the professional class, Ij-., 
black coat, knee-breeches and stockings, with buckled shoes, to which was added the rabat and 
the short fertola or cloak when out of doors. The awkward and not very sightly cassock for 
everyday dress did not, it seems, come into general use till after the Concordat, 1801-2. 



May 15] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE LA SALLE 195 

and other tovYns, always cheerfbl, patient, helpful, and heroic. The 
secret of this was, needless to say, his extraordinary sanctity. His spirit 
of poverty we have seen, and to this he added the great virtues of constant 
prayer, mortification of the senses, notably at meals, and perfect resignation 
to the clouds and crosses which, like a furnace of fire, tried, and tried for 
years, this magnificent soul. He resigned the Superior-generalship of the 
Christian Brothers, May, 1717, after urging on the General Assembly to 
give its vote “ to him who is the holiest or wishes to become so ” — one 
who “ has zeal with prudence, light with charity, and firmness with gentle- 
ness.” The choice fell on Brother Bartholomew. The last years of the 
great Founder were spent at St Ton, and there on the morning of Good 
Friday, 7th April, 1719, he yielded up his soul to his Maker. “ I adore 
in all things, the will of God in my regard,” were the last words of him who 
so conspicuously throughout his life of nearly eighty years had lived up 
to that glorious but most difficult ideal. His sacred remains were interred 
in the Chapel of St Suzanne in the Church of St Sever. They were removed 
to the Church of the Brothers at St Ton in 1734, and though disturbed 
by a revolutionary mob in 1793, were not, happily, destroyed, for even the 
deluded followers of the Jacobin demagogues respected the body of him 
who had been in every sense the true and never-failing friend of the dis- 
tressed. The coffin was again removed in 1881 to the Chapel of the 
Brothers School at Rouen, and lastly in 1906 — owing to the closing of the 
Christian Brothers Schools in France by the irreligious and absurd fanatics 
who tyrannize there in the name of Liberte, Egalite and Confraternity — 
the body of the Blessed Founder was taken to the Mother-House of the 
Institute at Lembecq-les-Hal, Belgium.^ Jean Baptist de la Salle was 
solemnly canonized by Leo XIII, amidst the rejoicing of the whole civilized 
world, 24th May, 1900, when not only Catholics, but educationalist 
leaders everywhere, paid glowing tributes to the great and self-sacrificing 
genius who had done so much for the moral and intellectual progress of 
Europe and the World. For though “ Little Schools ” had been opened 
in France as far back as the thirteenth century to extend education among 
the people, the growth of these had been almost stifled by the horrible 
Hundred Years War, which the criminal ambition of the Plantagenet 
Kings of this country forced on unhappy France. Then again, the Society 
of “Writing Masters,” estabished in Paris, 1570, to teach reading, 
writing, Latin, and arithmetic, were for the better classes rather than the 

1 The latter-day misrulers of France would do well to recall the words of Brother Martieu 
to the Republican Judges, after being condemned to death by the Revolutionary Tribunal at 
Rennes, during the “ Terror ” of 1793 : “ I direct a free school. If your protestations of love 
for the people are sincere, if your principles of fraternity are not a vain or hypocritical formula, 
my functions justify me, and, far from being imputed to me as a crime, they give me a sacred 
claim on your gratitude.” 



196 


BLESSED PETER WRIGHT 


[May 19 

poorer ones.^ St Jean Baptist de la Salle aimed at giving sound and general 
instruction in the vernacular, leaving Latin to be taught only to those pupils 
who expressly required it. It is this feature of his system that would seem 
to make the Saint the real originator of our modern primary education, 
many of the now accepted principles of which are to be found laid down 
in the admirable Conduite des ^coles^ which he left as his written legacy 
and guide to his spiritual children. In conclusion, it may be said that the 
Institute of the “ Brothers of the Christian Schools ” — to give them their 
proper title — ^is now found spread all over the world, the Brothers number- 
ing over sixteen thousand and the pupils more than three hundred and 
thirty thousand. It was the Bull of Pope Benedict XIII that elevated this 
momentous organization into a religious Congregation — a landmark in the 
history of the Brotherhood — ^which took place in 1725. 


MAY 19 

WRIGHT, THE BLESSED PETER, S.J., PRIEST, MARTYR 
(i6o3?-i65i). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

It is possible that Cromwell, like William III after him, would have 
adopted, had he been left to himself, a let-alone attitude towards the 
“ Popish malignants,” as the Catholics were styled by his fanatical 
followers, but the active intolerance of the latter made persecution in- 
evitable. Father Peter Wright, who was destined to suffer for the Faith 
under the Puritan regime, was born at Slipton, in Northamptonshire, 
about 1603, and had the misfortune at an early age to lose his father. The 
poverty brought upon his mother and brothers and sisters by this calamity 
made it necessary for the future missionary priest and martyr to obtain 
some employment while still of school age, and he, therefore, took service 
in the family .of a country attorney, where he remained, apparently, for 
several years. While with the lawyer he is said to have conformed to 
Protestantism, as far as attending the Parish Church went, but it is almost 
certain that he did not give up his religion, for when nearing man’s estate 
he conceived the extraordinary idea — ^for one in his situation — of a pilgrim- 
age to Rome I On the way thither, he came in contact with the Jesuit 
Fathers at Lifege, by whom he was instructed — some say reconciled — and 
under their advice he went on to Ghent and there spent two years in the 
study of the Classics in the College of the Flemish Province of the Society 
of Jesus. There was some notion of sending him to Rome, but Mr Wright 

It was the Corporation of these Writing-Masters ” that so greatlj opposed the Saint and 
lus Brothers, as already described, an opposition which caused the Parliament of Paris to ban 
the schools opened by the latter. 



May 19 ] BLESSED PETER WRIGHT 197 

preferred to enter the Society at Watten. While a novice there, he applied 
himself diligently to ascetical study and practices of devotion and obtained 
a complete mastery over what had been a tendency to irritability. With 
the zeal characteristic of apostolic men, he spent much of his leisure time 
going about among the village folk of the district, catechizing the children 
and encouraging young persons generally to persevere in piety and virtue. 
At the close of his theological course, Mr Wright was appointed Prefect 
of St Omer, a position very much against his private inclination, but 
which he accepted in the most perfect spirit of obedience. He soon had 
his reward in the form of a mission which exactly suited his zealous nature. 
The Thirty Years War, which was now nearing the end of its long and 
devastating course, had brought to the scene of action a vast number of 
auxiliary regiments and corps made up of military adventurers and others 
in the pay of one or other of the many contending powers. In the English 
regiments in the Low Countries were, of course, very many Catholics, 
for although the Government of this country was giving its support to 
the Protestant interest, the struggle by this time had become almost 
entirely political, so much so, that Pope Urban VIII saw nothing specially 
un-catholic in the policy of Cardinal Richelieu in sending French Armies 
to oppose those of the House of Hapsburg. To supply chaplains to these 
diverse “ foreign legions ” was one of the beneficent labours of the 
Superiors of the Jesuit Provinces both Flemish and English, and Father 
Wright was now detailed to go as Chaplain to the regiment commanded 
by Sir Henry Gage. Sir Henry, who belonged, as before stated,^ to the 
ancient Catholic family represented by the Gages of Firle and the now extinct 
Gages of Hengrave, soon acquired a great aflfection for the new chaplain, 
who, during his stay with the army, effected much good among the soldiers 
to whom he ever proved himself a true spiritual father and friend. When 
Sir Henry was recalled to England by the King (Charles I), after the 
commencement of the Civil War, Fr. Wright accompanied his friend and 
patron home. He: went with the brave Colonel to Oxford, when that 
experienced officer was appointed Governor of the Academic City of the 
Isis, and officiated as his chaplain down to the time of the gallant Cavalier’s 
death in the cavalry action at Culham Bridge (1644). He then became 
chaplain to another staunch Royalist, the Marquis of Winchester, famous 
in the history of the time for his protracted defence of the family mansion. 
Basing House, against the forces of the Parliament. The Marquis, who, 
like all his house, was a devout Catholic, retained Fr. Wright in his family 
till 1650-1, when, owing largely to the presence of Charles II in Scotland 
and his dynastic activities in the north, there was a great increase^ of 
vigilance on behalf of the Parliamentary Government, not only against 

* See page 28. 



BLESSED PETER WRIGHT 


198 


[May 19 


Royalists, but against those who were regarded as their natural allies — 
“ the Priests of Baal! ” as the fanatical left wing of the Commonwealth 
termed the Catholic Clergy. Up to this time — ^the penal laws not- 
withstanding — ^the houses of peers had been exempted from sudden and 
arbitrary search, but this privilege was no longer allowed under the Govern- 
ment of “Old Noll,” and on Candlemas day (2nd February), 1651, a 
number of men in the pay of the authorities raided the mansion of the 
Marquis in London, just as the family was, about to assemble for Holy 
Mass. In fact, if the Marquis had not barred their way for a few minutes, 
the priest-hunters — for such they proved to be — ^would have seized the 
Chaplain in his vestments and carried him off! He had just time to unvest 
and get as far as the roof of the house, but was quickly discovered and 
apprehended. He was committed to Newgate where already several other 
priests were awaiting trial for their religious character. 

The trial of Fr. Wright was delayed somewhat owing to the fact that 
an important witness against him was not immediately forthcoming. This 
was none other than Thomas Gage, a brother of the late Sir Henry Gage, 
and who from a Dominican had not only turned Puritan, but seemed to be 
filled with an almost diabolical hatred against his former co-religionists. 
His other brother, the Rev. George Gage, a priest, however, so far won 
him over on this occasion as to make him promise not to give any evidence 
of a material nature against Mr Wright or the Rev. Mr Dade, Prior of 
the Dominicans, who was to be tried at the same time. Thomas kept his 
word as regards Prior Dade, who was, wonderful to say, acquitted, but 
broke it as to Mr Wright. This witness, it seems, had an old grudge 
against his late brother’s chaplain, who had once rebuked him for his 
scandalous life. Two other witnesses, Mayo and Wadsworth, also 
deposed against the accused, and as the rule established by the judges 
more than a cent\iry later, requiring absolute proof of priesthood in these 
cases, was of course not then in force, a very strong case was in consequence 
made out for the prosecution. No counsel was allowed accused persons 
in those days in either treason or felony, save to argue points of law and 
examine witnesses, and when called upon by the Lord Chief Justice Roles 
for his defence, Mr Wright said very appositely, “ that the persecutors of 
old might as well have objected to the Aposties and ‘ primitive priests ’ 
coming into their countries and preaching contrary to the established 
laws.^ And if it should be said he continued, that he — ^the prisoner — ^had 
not preached the Gospel, but errors contrary to the Gospel, he would only 
say that all manner of heresies and false beliefs were openly taught in this 
land, and as none were persecuted but the Catholic religion, it was a clear 

^ Full defence by Counsel in cases of High Treason was not allowed till 1696 (7 and 8 
Wm. Ill, c. 3), and in those of Felony, not till 1836 (6 and 7 Wm. IV, c. 114). 



May 19] BLESSED PETER WRIGHT 199 

sign that that religion was the truth.” These remarks seem rather to have 
impressed the jury, for they were some time in coming to their verdict, 
which was that of guilty. After receiving sentence of death the following 
day, Fr. Wright returned to his cell where, until his execution, he was 
visited by great numbers of persons, including many of the first distinction, 
some anxious to confess to him, others to obtain small keepsakes from him 
or to have his advice and benediction. On the morning of his death 19th 
May, 1651, he said Mass in his cell, which was served by his friend the 
Rev. Mr Cheney, who had been acquitted at the same sessions for want, it 
seems, of evidence as to his priesthood. Great crowds lined the streets all 
the way to Tyburn, and as the Martyr passed the Mansion of the Marquis 
of Winchester, in the Oxford Road, that noble lord and all his family 
were on the balcony to obtain the blessing of the holy Father as he passed 
by. The number of spectators at Tyburn was estimated at twenty thousand, 
including many coaches filled with personages of noble rank. Before 
submitting himself to the executioner, Fr. Wright delivered an im- 
pressive address containing the following passage: “Gentlemen, this is 
a short passage to eternity; my time is now short. I have not much to 
speak. I was brought thither charged with no other crime than being a 
priest. I willingly confess that I am a priest, a Catholic, and as you call 
it, a Jesuit. This is the crime for which I die; for this alone I was con- 
demned and for propagating the Catholic Faith which is spread through the 
whole world, taught through all ages from Christ’s time, and will be taught 
for all ages to come. For this cause I most willingly sacrifice my life, and 
would die a thousand times for the same if necessary, and I look upon it 
as my greatest happiness that my most good God has chosen me, most 
unworthy, to this blessed lot, the lot of the Saints. This is a grace for which 
so unworthy a sinner could scarce have wished, much less hoped, for, I 
now beg most humbly and as fervently as I can of God to expel from you 
that are Protestants, the darkness of error, and enlighten you with His truth. 
And you who are Catholics pray for me, and with me up to the end, and 
in Heaven I will do as much for you.” The body of the Martyr was allowed 
to hang till life was extinct, before the quartering, etc., were proceeded with. 
The sacred remains were not exhibited on gates and other public places as was 
the general custom, but delivered to his friends, and sent over to St Omer for 
interment in the Chapel of the College of the English Jesuits in that City.^ 
\_LiJe, by Challoner, based apparently on the Memoir of the Martyr, 
puljlished at Antwerp by an eyewitness, the year of the 
Martyrdom.] 

» The body of Fr. Wright was removed to Liege in 1762. After the execution, the Shenff 
of London, a very courteous gentleman, allowed the many Catholics present to remove the head 
and members of the Martyrs saying ; “ bury them with all the honour you wish ! o 7 ■ 
'Records, S.J. Series, fi., iii., fv., p. 550. 



200 


BLESSED ANNA MARIA TAIGI 


[May 20 


MAY 20 

TAIGI, THE BLESSED ANNA MARIA 
(1769-1837) 

Most of the Saints whose lives illustrate heroic virtue practised in the 
domestic circle were either labourers or servants, or great personages, 
such as kings and queens, lords and ladies, the former finding their 
perfection chiefly in great diligence and obedience, and the latter in those 
gracious acts of charity and Christian munificence, which have added so 
much that is pleasingly spectacular to Church history. But the career 
of Anna Maria Taigi brings out in bold relief the wonderful holiness 
achieved by a poor married woman, the mother of seven children, and 
surrounded by exactly the same cares and solicitudes which, despite the 
passing of centuries and the advent of new conditions, are ever with us 
to remind us of the limitations and dependence of human existence. 

The holy Matron of Rome of the latter eighteenth and early nineteenth 
century was born at Sienna, 29th May, 1769, where her father, Luigi 
Gianetti, was in business as a chemist. Six years later this easy-going 
man failed in business, owing, it seems, to a too great credit allowed to 
people who took his pills and powders much faster than they paid for them! 
The “ good apothecary,” after this reverse, left the place of his financial 
disaster for good, and settled in Rome, where he became a “ gentleman’s 
gentleman,” butler to a noble family, one of the patricians houses 
whose glass coaches, gorgeous liveries and stately contemporary dress are 
familiar to us from the paintings of Alexander Magnasco and Pompeo 
Batoni. Meanwhile, his little daughter attended a school kept by the 
Maestro Pie, where she remained as a day-pupil till she was thirteen. She 
then went as apprentice to two women who followed the trade of wool- 
winding. The time not spent at this occupation was passed at home 
picking up those details of housework, the right mastery of which makes 
all the difference between the smooth or rough working of a house 1 Her 
father greatly appreciated his little daughter’s good cooking and house- 
wifely ways, and once jokingly asked her where she learnt it all. “ Mother 
taught me some of it,” came the reply. “ Then I always say a ‘ Hail 
Mary ’ to ask the Blessed Virgin to help me and everything goes right 1 ” 
After a time Anna Maria became a housemaid to Donna Maria Sera 
at the Palazzo Maccarani where her father was employed. 

Among the friends of the great family there, were the Principi Chigi, 
whose ancestral Palazzo on the north side of the Piazza Colonna, contains 
one of the finest picture galleries in the world. Among the servants of 
the then head of the noble house, was a handsome, hot-tempered, but 



201 


May 2o] blessed ANNA MARIA TAIGI 

good-hearted footman, named Dominico Xaigi, and before long he became 
enamoured of the equally attractive looking maid of Donna Maria. Both 
domestics, as good Catholics, prayed to know the will of God, and being 
assured of their vocation to the married state, the nuptials took place at 
the Church of S, Marcello, 7th January, 1790. 

Husband and wife appear to have been very suited to each other, 
notwithstanding certain marked differences of temperament^ which in a 
union not sanctified by the constant practice of religion, would undoubtedly 
have led to much mutual unhappiness. It is the practice of the Faith, 
of course, that saves families and ecclesiastics alike from shipwreck. Both 
the vocation of the altar and the vocation of the domestic hearth must 
be constantly fortified by prayer and the sacraments, and without these 
the fairest earthly appearances, and the most favourable conditions are 
powerless to prevent tragedy sooner or later. 

Anna Maria, as we have said, was very happy in her married life, and 
though intensely devout, had no desire to adopt that curious semi-secular, 
semi-religious attire which so many good people think necessary in order 
to pursue holiness in the world 1 We know what the St Cur^ d’Ars not 
only thought but said about this queer “ singularity,” and doubtless 
Anna Maria shared the same kind of sentiment. But she wanted her life, 
as wife and mother, to be one of uncommon holiness, by performing all 
her duties in this state extraordinarily well, and seeking every occasion 
afforded her to practice the supernatural. Her first essay in this direction 
was to discard the showy jewellery which every Italian woman of the 
middle and lower ranks of life considers a necessary part of her dress, at 
least on festive occasions. Her husband, strangely enough, acquiesced 
in this act of self-renunciation. All her life, Anna Maria used to regret — 
or bewail rather — the harmless pleasure she formerly took in these little 
vanities, and would speak of the natural girlish complacencies in question 
almost as great penitents have spoken of their previous moral disorders 1 
Such expressions are easily understood by all who know something of 
the pursuit of sanctity and how in the light of the things of eternity, not 
only the things of time but the hours spent in trifling with them, appear 
as mere “bubbles of 'wind” and “ childish follies,” as Bishop Challoner 
phrases it in one of his Meditations. 

It has been said that when army ofiicers in England “ get religion,” 
they usually “ get it very badly ! ” ” Getting religion ” in England, since 
the Great Apostasy in the sixteenth century, has alasl inevitably meant 
that I Puritan grimness, absurdly long sermons, kill-joy Sundays, and 
prohibition of the simple pleasures of life, have ever followed in the wake 
of those who attempted to “ convert ” the masses of this country without 
the blessing and co-operation of the Catholic Church. Had Anna Maria 



202 


BLESSED ANNA MARIA TAIGI 


[May 20 

Taigi not been a Catholic, she would have degenerated most probably into 
a second Mrs Varden 1 Certainly Dickens’s portraiture of that very forbid- 
ding Protestant woman makes us thankful in more ways than one that our 
Saint was born south of the Alps and not on this side of the English Channel. 

When the family were around her, Anna Maria was the life of the 
house, nothing was neglected, but everything was ready as required and 
she herself was the picture of cheerfulness. She always gave her husband 
the first care, when he returned from serving at the great house, and while 
he was with her he was all in ail to her, and no doubt she was to him. 
Conjugal affection, fostered by grace and supported always by the special 
strength and blessing imparted by the “ Great Sacrament,” grows with 
time, and is as mutually precious after half a century as on the bright day 
of the bridal. The practical destruction of Christian marriage by the 
Reformation — ^which as far as this country goes, was cradled in adultery — 
was, as we know to our cost, one of the greatest calamities inflicted on the 
world, and the direct source of very many of our present-day social evils. 

After her husband, the model matron devoted all her domestic life 
to the children. She attended them to school, taught them their prayers, 
became their adviser and consoler, and devised for their amusement a 
variety of little pleasures, such as picnics, and visits to places of interest, 
usually churches and shrines in country places near Rome. Though 
strict and even severe when occasion demanded it, Anna Maria never 
forgot that the true happiness of a Christian home is, after all, the fairest 
memory anyone can have, and that firmness is not the less efiicacious for 
being concealed by kindness 1 But the time not given to matronly duties 
was spent in prayer and devotion. The Mystery of the Nativity and the 
Passion of Our Lord were her constant meditations, and she loved to 
make the Stations of the Cross in some empty church, where the sorrow 
which this moving spiritual exercise nearly always evokes, could be in- 
dulged in without exciting attention. 

Her confessor. Padre Angelo, a Servite Father, who seems to have 
had an interior warning as to the greatness of this elect soul, ordered her 
to communicate daily, a very rare privilege in those days, and her reception 
of the Blessed Eucharist is described as marked by various signs, all in- 
dicating the interior transports of her soul. But these “ signs ” did not 
end here. Among the many divine favours vouchsafed to her by God, 
was that of foretelling future events. It is said that for some forty-seven 
years before her death, a mysterious globe which expanded into a glorious 
sun, crowned with thorns, appeared to her from time to time, showing 
her as in a radiant mirror, not only the events of the world, but the state 
of the consciences of men. Thus, she described long before they occurred, 
the seizure of Rome by the French, 1797, the Captivity of Pius VII under 



May aoj BLESSED ANNA MARIA TAIGI 203 

Napoleon (1809-14), and even the fall of the temporal power (1870). 
She likewise predicted the subsequent rise and triumph of the Church. 
She also foretold many purely secular events as the “July Revolution” of 
1 8 30, and even such matters as the plots of the Carbonari, and other secret 
societies which were afterwards so rife, especially from 1816 to 1832. 

In addition to the gift of prophecy, that of miracles was also added. 
This includes a long list of such instances from the cure of a Dominican 
nun who suffered from cancer, to the cure of the Ex-Queen of Etruria, 
Marie Louise de Bourbon, who had for years suffered from epileptic 
fits. But while obtaining from God relief for others, this wonderful woman 
had herself much to endure. Sick headaches, which became much worse 
on Fridays, and almost unceasing rheumatism, were her constant “ crosses,” 
and, of course, like nearly all souls who are trying to serve God extra- 
ordinarily well, she had long spells of spiritual dryness. “ She lived through 
long years with this accompanying train of suffering,” says Cardinal Carlo 
Maria Pedicini, “ save during rare moments, when it pleased Our Lord 
to give her some bright gleams of divine consolation.” The Cardinal who, 
like many other prelates and notabilities of Rome, knew the Saint well, 
was among those who afterwards deposed to her heroic sanctity. The 
“ dear Saint,” as the people of Rome spoke of her after her death, began 
to fail in October 1836. To the great joy of herself and her family the 
Holy Father gave leave for Holy Mass to be said in her room weekly by 
Don Raffaelle Natali, a devout priest who had long been the friend of the 
Taigis, and to whom we owe many of the most edifying details of this 
extraordinary and consoling life.^ For nearly a year, Anna Maria struggled 
with death, but the end came on 9th June, 1837, after this wonderful 
exponent of the practical and the mystical had received the last Holy 
Sacraments, and given her final instructions to her surviving children. 

“ Always keep Jesus Crucified before your eyes,” she said, “ and may 
His precious Blood be the object of your devout adoration. ... Be 
tenderly devout to the Blessed Virgin, She will play a Mother’s part 
to you when I am gone.” The body of the “ Valiant Woman ” was in- 
terred in the cemetery of St Lorenzo, and very soon the place of sepulchre 
became the object of ever-increasing pilgrimages.® The cause began to 
be officially inquired into in 185a, and among those who deposed to her 
heroic virtues were her husband, two daughters and a number of others, 
mcluding three Cardinals and several lesser prelates. Pope Pius IX 
declared her Venerable, 8th January, 1863, and on 30th May, 1920, 

1 He died at Rome, at a very advanced age, in 1 87 1 . 

* They were removed later to the Church of Our Saviour of Peace, and in July, 18 S> 
the Church of the Trinitarian Order, S. Crisogno in Trastevere. Cardinal Stephen Langfon, 
Archbishop of Canterbury (d. 1228), took his title from this Church. 



204 


BLESSED JOHN FOREST [May 22 

Benedict XV enrolled her name among the Blessed. No doubt all Catholics 
■who have at heart the subject of Christian domesticity which is after all, 
the foundation of a Christian life, earnestly pray that the day may not be 
far off when this pattern of Holy Motherhood and every wifely virtue, 
may be raised to the altars of the Church. 

[Anna Maria Taigi, The Roman Matron^ 1769-1837. (Burns &- 
Oates, 1873). Mystic in the Home {BL Anna Maria Taigt)^ 
translated from the French, by Katherine Hervey. (Catholic 
Truth Society.).] 


MAY 22 

FOREST, THE BLESSED JOHN, FRANCISCAN- 
OBSERVANT, MARTYR 

(i473?-i538) 

Iy Father John Forest was, as surmised, sixty-five at the time of his 
martyrdom, he must have been born in 1473.^ At the age of seventeen 
he entered the Franciscan Monastery at Greenwich, and some nine years 
later, proceeded to the House of his Order at Watergate, Oxford, where 
he probably took his Doctor’s degree, as he is styled by that academic 
distinction in his last disputation. He was, no doubt^ already sufficiently 
distinguished for learning and general abilities, for in January, 1525, he 
was deputed by Cardinal Wolsey to preach at Paul’s Cross, a comminatory 
sermon reminding his brethren, the Franciscans, that all religious under 
solemn vows who left their monastery without due permission incurred 
the penalty of excommunication. The Cardinal, as Legate, had proposed 
to visit the Franciscan House at Greenwich. The Friars alleged an 
exemption from such legatine visitations granted them by Leo X, and in 
protest some nineteen of the community had quitted the cloister, but 
some of these were later arrested and suffered a kind of mild imprisonment 
at the Cardinal’s Palace at Whitehall. 

The proximity of the Royal Palace at Greenwich to the Friary, brought 
the latter place much into contact with the Court, and both Henry VII 
and his son seem to have been as fond of the brown-clad sons of St Francis 
as were afterwards the last Stuarts. In 1526-7, Fr. Forest received 
the post of Confessor to Queen Catherine of Aragon, and that sorely-tried 
princess became so much attached to the Order that she expressed a wish 
to be bxuried in one of the Churches of the Foundation. The Fathers 
generally, openly espoused the Queen’s cause, and subsequently (1532) 
» Gbambers’g Biographical Dictionary gives the date of birth as circa 1474. 



May 22 ] BLESSED JOHN FOREST 205 

Friar William Peto— later a Cardinal under Queen Mary— publicly 
denounced from the pulpit the evil counsellors who had abetted the King 
in the matter of the divorce. Of course, Henry was furious, but no gibbets 
or axes, mirahile dim, were resorted to at the moment. Fr. Forest, 
who saw the King — a stormy interview doubtless — actually succeeded in 
putting His Majesty “ by his purpose,” which was that of “ suppressing 
their Order throughout England.” A French Visitor of the Order came 
over, sent by arrangement with the Father-General, to prevent the re- 
petition of any further cause of “ irritation ” to the King, but the times 
for the Franciscans, as for every one else who possessed a conscience, were 
fraught with the gravest danger. A man’s worst enemies, as the Gospel 
tells us, are those of his own household, and the truth of the adage was 
again to be demonstrated. Fr. Forest was now, it seems. Warden of the 
House at Greenwich, but he had incurred the enmity of two discontented 
Friars, Fr. John Lawrence and Brother Richard Lyst. Lawrence not 
only sought to curry favour with the Court by preaching a sermon before 
the Brethren — ^who greatly resented it — in favour of the divorce, but he 
and the lay-brother just named set themselves to formulate a series of 
accusations against the Warden and the Community in general. No 
doubt, the strong feeling of the Friars against the iniquitous divorce and 
their very frequent and free expressions anent “ Nan Bullen,” were the 
chief substance of the charges now made against them by the traitors in 
their midst. The upshot of the whole affair was that Fr. Forest was first 
deposed from his Wardenship, and sent north — ^probably to the Friary 
at Newcastle — and then in 1534 the whole of the Franciscan Order in 
England was suppressed. The Houses were for the time handed over to 
various other Orders, but a number of the Fathers and Brothers who 
refused “ to change their habit,” were cast into the common jails. It 
has been stated that Fr. Forest was also thrown into prison at this time, 
and that he continued therein until the day of his martyrdom. This is 
not correct. He was imprisoned certainly, and then enlarged, a circum- 
stance which has given rise to a (probably) well-grounded supposition 
that he took some kind of qualified oath of submission to the ” King’s 
Grace ” in the affair of the Supremacy. “ As far as the law of God allows,” 

“ Saving the rights of my Order,” and similar phrases were common 
subterfuges enough at that time, when men found themselves between 
the Royal Devil and the deep sea of sheer apostasyl Even Henry himself, 
it is clear, had employed at least once a kind of mental reservation. For 
in his letter to Tunstall, Bishop of Durham, who — ^greatly daring ^had 
WTitten protesting against the “ Supreme Head ” clause of the new regal 
title, the King condescended to explain that the style only referred to the 
position of the Sovereign as feudal lord over the clergy in Temporals J 



2o6 


BLESSED JOHN FOREST [May 22 

(Wilkins: Cofici/ia, iii., pp. 762-65). Whether Fr. Forest subscribed or 
did not subscribe to the oath, he lived for some time at the Grey Friar’s 
Convent in Newgate Street, then presided over by Thomas Chapman. 
The Community had “ conformed,” and with them the Ex-Warden lived, 
praying and studying, and being in much repute as a confessor. But 
it was well known that his private opinion was entirely against the 
schismatical policy of the day. Also, that he was writing a treatise on the 
Supremacy, which authority he told his penitents belonged to the Pope 
and not to the King. It was, therefore, resolved by Cromwell and the 
other royal advisers to get direct evidence against Forest by means of 
some of those who confessed to him. After one or two useless attempts, 
a sufficient case against the Friar was established, through a wretched 
creature, believed to be one Waferer, who declared that Forest had 
asserted to him that “ the King was not the Supreme Head of the Church.” 
The famous Father Confessor was thereupon apprehended and subsequently 
subjected to an elaborate examination on the whole matter. 

Undoubtedly, the Lutheran heresy was beginning to affect the re- 
ligious mind of the country very much at this time, and Cranmer, the 
Archbishop of Canterbury, since the death of Warham, was probably 
deeply tainted with it. Forest had been after his last arrest closely ques- 
tioned as stated, on various points of doctrine chiefly relating to the 
Supremacy, and four articles of accusation had been drawn up against 
him. These were : 

(1) “That the Catholic Church is the Church of Rome, and that 

we ought to believe out of the same.” 

(2) “ That we should believe in the Pope’s pardon for the remission 

of our sins.” 

(3) “That we ought to believe and do, as our fathers have done, 

aforetime, fourteen years past.” 

(4) ‘‘ That a priest may turn and change the pains of Hell of a sinner 

truly penitent, contrite of his sins by a certain penance enjoined 
him, into the pains of Purgatory, which said articles be most 
abominable heresies, blasphemies against God, and contrary 
to Scripture and the teaching of Christ and His Apostles, and 
to abhor any true Christian heart to think.” 

The last article is a Lutheran misrepresentation. It makes out that 
by means of a penance given by the priest, a soul can be taken out of Hell. 
Actually, the Church teaches that by absolution, following on confession, 
accompanied by sincere repentance, the eternal punishment due to mortal 
sin is commuted to a temporal one — a very different thing. It is not easy 



May 22] BLESSED JOHN FOREST 207 

to describe in brief, actually what happened. Forest was arraigned before 
the Court of the Archbishop (Cranmer) on a charge of heresy. That the 
fourth article, as stated, is heretical, is obvious to any well-instructed 
Catholic, and while adhering firmly to the first three, Forest, it is said, 
should have demurred to the fourth on account of its faulty wording and 
misstatement. Instead of that, he abjured the Articles verbally, probably 
because he thought them so interwoven that the heretical part, the fourth, 
vitiated the whole. He was remanded back to prison, and meanwhile 
had leisure to converse with several Catholics. He consequently refused 
to sign his abjuration, no douBt on account of the first three articles which, 
being perfectly Catholic, would be condemned by him through this act. 
This refusal was enough. He became “ a relapsed heretic ” at once, and 
was condemned to the flames. 

So on 22.nd May, 1538, was witnessed the curious spectacle of a Francis- 
can Friar going to Smithfield to suffer both for treason in maintaining the 
Pope’s spiritual supremacy, and apparently for heresy in not formally 
abjuring what was actually a Lutheran perversion of the teaching of the 
Catholic Church on the subject of sin and its punishment. The burning 
of the Martyr over a slow fire near the St Bartholomew’s Spital Gate was 
witnessed by a vast concourse, including the Lords of the Privy Council, 
the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of London, and the prime nobility in 
town. Latimer — ^unforeseeing his own subsequent fate — preached the 
dying sermon, but was reminded by Forest that he himself had held very 
different opinions about the Pope’s authority years before 1 He ended by 
exclaiming: “ Open thou thine eyes, take example from that Holy Bishop 
of Rochester and the Blessed Thomas More, who renounced the goods 
of this world and chose rather to die than to lose their immortal souls.” 

Fr. Forest was suspended from a gibbet and slowly burnt to death. 
He refused to draw his feet from the fire when the flames mounted up, 
but said many prayers in Latin, the last being the Domine miserere met. 

As is tolerably well known, a theatrical incident was introduced into 
the martyrdom, that of the burning of the ancient wooden image of St 
Derfel, patron of the Church of Llanderfel in the Diocese of St Asaph. 
This ” satiric touch ” may have been dictated by the iconoclasm then 
beginning to make its appearance in the already spiritually distracted 
realm, a species of vandalism which found expression in the destruction 
of the Holy Rood of Boxley, and other venerated memorials, or it may have 
been an allusion to the fourth of the articles which Forest was supposed to 
have countenanced. For the ill-instructed Welsh peasants, or some of them, 
then, it is said, believed that an offering to the statue of St Derfel, popularly 
known as Daval Gadarn, or Gathern (Derfel the Strong), would release a 
damned soul from HeU I The charred remains of Friar Forest were buried. 



2o8 


ST RITA 


[May 22 

in all probability, within St Bartholomew’s Hospital, or more likely in 
the adjoining Church of St Bartholomew the Great. That he died like 
Cardinal Fisher, Sir Thomas More, and the rest of the Catholic Martyrs 
of tHs period, for the authority of the Apostolic See, is clear from the 
popular doggerel which declared: — 

“ And Forest the Friar, 

That obstinate liar. 

That -wilfuUie shall be dead. 

In his contumade 
The Gospel doth denie. 

The King to be supreme head.” 

Various letters of a spiritual character, are extant, written by Friar Forest 
to Queen Catherine of Aragon, Elizabeth Hanrunon, her lady-in-waiting 
and Dr Thomas Abel, sometime her chaplain, and a martyr to be (30th 
July, 1540). In one of these letters to the Queen, written when the Friar 
believed himself to be on the eve almost of his death, occurs the following; 
“ I earnestly beg your steadfast prayers to God, for whose Spouse we suffer 
torments, to receive me into His glory. For it have I striven these four- 
and-forty years in the Order of St Francis. Meanwhile, do you keep free 
from the pestilent doctrine of the heretics, so that, if even an angel should 
come down from Heaven and bring you another doctrine from that which 
I have taught you, give no credit to his words, but reject him, for that other 
doctrine does not come from God.” 


MAY 22 

RITA, ST, WIDOW 
(1386-1456 ?) 

If St Rita belongs to that wonderful band of elect who were holy from 
their cradles, it must be said that she required every available help that 
sanctity gives, to have enabled her to endure the trials and difficulties with 
which most of her life was filled I She was the daughter of parents, both 
nearing middle age at the time of her birth, and the author of the Latin 
memoir of the Saint says that shortly after this event (1386), a swarm of 
bees was seen to come and go several times to and from the cradle — a 
portent which was taken as indicating that the career of the child- was to 
be marked by industry, virtue and devotion. The father and mother of 
Rita were themselves very pious, and from their laudable habit of com- 
posing the quarrels and differences among their neighbours, they were 
known as the Peacemakers of Jesus Christ.” Little Rita as she grew 



ST RITA 


May 22] 


209 


up, seems to have acquired a great deal of this spirit of the supernatural, 
for she showed little if any inclination for games, seeking her recreation 
chiefly in prayer and visits to sacred shrines — an exercise, by the way, 
which — granted the proper disposition — brings with it a wealth of real 
enjoyment and satisfaction quite wanting to other and more secular amuse- 
ments. This being so, it is not surprising to learn that Rita, as she neared 
womanhood, felt that her vocation lay in the convent rather than in that of 
domestic life. We are not aware of the circumstances that led her parents 
*0 oppose this apparently obvious course, but oppose it they did, and 
Rita submitted, even so far as to please them by marrying a man 
whom all accounts describe as exceedingly bad-tempered and something 
worse 1 It is the teaching of the Church that the grace of the Holy Sacra- 
ment of Matrimony, if corresponded with by a good life, works miracles, 
almost, in the way of establishing and perpetuating conjugal happiness. 
Acerbities of temper, temperamental diflerences, and all the other diffi- 
culties arising out of the necessary variations of human nature, are, under 
God’s influence, toned down and adjusted, provided always Holy Mass, 
prayer and the sacraments are not forgotten — ^for “ wheresoever two or 
three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” 
So Rita tamed her rough spouse, and for two-and-twenty years lived 
harmoniously {concorditer) with a husband who, like most quarrelsome 
individuals in the days when sword and stiletto ever sharp, hung from every 
Italian gentleman’s belt, perished in a feud. Such a death in the Italy 
of the Decamerone and the Republics, and, indeed, till well into our own 
time, usually meant a prolonged vendetta, and, of course, the two sons of 
the dead man at once took up the quarrel. Meantime, poor Rita was in 
despair, and finding her expostulations useless to prevent further effusion 
of blood, she had recourse to prayer, earnestly beseeching God to take her 
boys from this world rather than permit them to live on stained by homi- 
cide. The mother’s prayer was heard, and the two youths shortly after- 
wards died edifying deaths, forgiving their father’s slayers and resigned 
to God. 

The way was now clear for our Saint to satisfy her long yearning for 
a conventual life. After due consideration, she applied to be “ accepted ” 


by the Augustinian nuns at Cascia, but was informed that the custom 
was only for women who had never been married, to be received as postu- 
lants. The time was to come when not only widows were to enter religious 
orders of their own sex as a matter of course, but even occasionally to 


found them, as in the case of St Jane Francis de Chantal and the Nuns of 
the Visitation. Again did Rita have recourse to prayer, and it is related 
that the night following her second great “ storming of Heaven, St 
John the Baptist, to whom she had a great devotion, appeared to her. 


o 



210 


ST RITA 


[May 22 

accompanied by St Augustine and St Nicholas of Tolentino, and these 
three Saints conducted her to the convent, where the Superiors,, who had 
been similarly warned, received her with great kindness. The new 
postulant entered upon her life in religion with characteristic zeal anu 
thoroughness. She disposed of her family property as alms to the poor, 
and in addition to the ordinary mortifications prescribed or permitted 
by the rule, she added others of great severity, wearing a hair shirt, fasting 
rigorously on bread and water and taking the discipline at intervals. The 
Passion of Our Lord was her constant meditation, and while recalling 
the manifold sufferings of the Man of Sorrows, she often seemed to be 
carried away by mingled grief and devotion. 

In the midst of such wonderful progress on the road to perfection, 
this pattern to the community was afflicted by God after the following 
mysterious manner. She was meditating one day on the Passion before 
the crucifix, when she apparently, accidentally, wounded her forehead by 
striking it against some of the no doubt very realistic thorns in Our 
Lord’s crown. The injury caused by the hurt developed into a serious 
ulcer, one most painful and unsightly, so unsightly, in fact, that for many 
years Sister Rita had to make her devotions alone 1 She accepted this 
great trial in the light of an additional penance sent her by God, and it 
was about this time that many spiritual and temporal favours are said to 
have been granted to various persons as the direct result of the prayers 
of this wonderful religious, the fame of whose sanctity had already ex- 
tended far beyond the convent walls. The extraordinary fact, too, that 
her garden — ^which, in common with the rest of the nuns, she had allotted 
to her — ^produced beautiful roses and ripe figs in the depths of an ab- 
normally severe winter, was taken as an additional sign that the unceasing 
prayers and heroic virtues of Sister Rita were blessed beyond measure, 
even in this world. The last years of the Saint were marked by a most 
painful and lingering illness— cancer doubtless — ^which as in the case of 
all her other seeming misfortunes she employed as another means of 
forwarding her greater sanctification. At the approach of death, she re- 
ceived with wonderful fervour the last rites of the Church, and then, as it 
is piously believed, at the call of Our Lady, she breathed forth her spotless 
soul to God on 20th May, 1456.^ 

The sacred remains long after death yielded a most sweet and refresh- 
ing odour, and many miracles have been recorded as the fruit of her 
powerful intercession. The cultus of the wonderful nun of Cascia spread 
far and wide, notably in Spain, where she has since been known as ** La 
Santa de los impossibiles ! ” She was Beatified by Clement XII, though 
as far back as 1637, a Mass and office were granted in her honour by 

» The Life in the Breviarj Office of the Feast, pves 1457 as the year of St Riu’s death. 



2II 


May 23] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI 

Urban VIII. Finally, on 24th May, 1900, Pope Leo XIII enrolled her 
name among the Saints — the Saints it may be added, whose virtues shone 
as stars both in the world and in the cloister. 

[Cardi : Vita della B. Rita de Cascia. (Foligno, 1 805.) Messenger 
of the Sacred Hearty 1902. Roman Breviary : Pro Aliquibus 
LociSy 22 nd May.] 


MAY 23 

DE ROSSI, ST JOHN BAPTIST 
(1698-1764) 

St John Baptist Vianney once reminded Monsignor Dupanloup, when 
the latter was being promoted to the See of Orleans, that there are “ many 
bishops in the Calendar of Saints, but very few Curds ! ” The wonder- 
worker of Ars was too sensible and charitable to add — “ and still fewer 
Canons 1 ” The reason, of course, is that nearly all the conspicuously holy 
Canons reached the episcopate before they went to their eternal reward, 
but apart from this there seems to be a tendency to regard Canons collec- 
tively, as sensible rather than saintly. For the senate of the diocese, after 
all, has to deal chiefly with matters that call for worldly prudence and 
not pious enthusiasm. In fact, cynically-minded persons might say that 
no small part of the united duties of a Chapter is to save the temporalities 
of the See from the imprudences of the devout I Still there are Saints in 
every rank of the Church, just as there are exceptions to every rule. 

St John Baptist de Rossi, the somewhat rare instance of the canonized 
Canon, was born at Voltaggio, diocese of Genoa, 22nd February, 1698. 
His father, Charles de Rossi, and mother, Frances, Jiie Anfossi, were 
people of the gentry class though not well off. As a child, little John 
Baptist was distinguished by his affectionate nature and good looks, which 
seem to have made him a great favourite, while he showed his innate 
devotion by serving more than one Mass each morning at the Parish 
Church. It was while serving one of these Masses that the little boy 
attracted the attention of a lady and gentleman in the congregation, named 
Scorza, with the result that they asked to be allowed to educate him as 
their own son. As John Baptist’s father had three other children, and as 
the means of the family, as before stated, were not large, he consented, 
and John Baptist went to live with Signor and Signora Scorza at Genoa. 
He remained with these kind and well-to-do benefactors for three years, 
pursuing his studies under a private tutor, and keeping up his former 
practices of devotion. In 1711* bis paternal uncle, Dom Lawrence de 



212 


ST JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI [May 23 

Rossi, a Canon of the Church of St Mary in Cosmedin, persuaded the 
mother of the boy — his worthy father being now dead — to allow her son 
to live with him in Rome for the purpose of pursuing his studies at the 
Roman College. Consent being given, John Baptist left his good friends 
at Genoa and proceeded to Rome, where he was very kindly received by 
his uncle, and entered as a student at the Gesu^ as the Roman College is 
called. That famous seat of learning grew out of a school founded, in 
1550 by thirteen young Jesuits, near the Church of St Venantius, where 
Hebrew, Greek and Latin were taught gratuitously. The College, built 
by Gregory XIII in 1582, from designs by Bartolomeo Ammanati, took the 
place of this somewhat humble commencement, and until its seizure by 
the Government of “ United Italy ” in 1870, sent forth scores of scholars 
yearly to all parts of the world.^ John Baptist did very well at the College. 
He had a natural liking for books, and also a capacity for serious study — 
which is not quite the same thing — and he rose to the position of 
“ Dictator,” or as we should say, of “ Captain,” of the school. Besides 
devotion to Our Lady, he was also much influenced by the virtues and 
example of St Aloysius Gonzaga, whose Lt/e he read and re-read. Un- 
fortunately, later on, when he had begun his theological studies, he fell 
in with a book — no doubt one of the many pessimistic Jansenist works 
of so-called devotion, so common during the eighteenth century — ^which 
caused him, or rather confirmed him in, a strong tendency to scruples. 
The “ fatal book ” which stressed the need of exaggerated penances, pro- 
duced in John Baptist agonies of soul, and it was long before he was able 
to throw off the baleful effects of this pernicious work. 

In after years the Saint was never tired of warning his penitents and 
even young priests against the terrible danger of excessive and especially 
self-inflicted mortifications. ” Your duty,” he would say, “ is to have 
recourse to your confessors, to be entirely open with them, and to do 
nothing without their advice. Do not imitate my example; through 
having held my tongue when I ought to have spoken, and having practised 
indiscreet austerities, I injured my health to that degree, that I could not 
continue my studies ! ” 

John Baptist found some relief from his troubles of mind as a student, 
by becoming a member of ” The Ristretti,” a society among the students 
of the College, having for object the sanctification of its members, and 
the exercise of works of charity, chiefly the relief of the poor, and the 
visiting of the sick. John Baptist was assiduous in his attendance at the 
hospitals every Thursday and feast day. He cheered the patients by his 
amusing conversation, and consoled them by his pious exhortations. His 

' The Roman College, as far as the philosophical and theological faculties are concerned, , 
idll exists, but in another building. 



May 23 ] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI 213 

friend and chief coadjutor in this admirable work, was a fellow-studen^ 
Claude Francis du Tronchet, a member of a good old French family which 
is distinguished by the fact that probably another and a much later 
member was one of the heroic advocates who in the dark hour of Jacobin 
triumph stood forward as the defender of Louis XVI.i Du Tronchet 
afterwards entered the Franciscans, and was ordained priest, 26th May, 
1725* on 22nd March of the following year, in the odour of 

sanctity, and his case is, we believe, being considered at Rome,® 

During the latter part of his student days at the Collegio Romano, 
John Baptist was afhicted with epilepsy, which caused him much suffering 
and chronic ill-health. He was unable to follow the regular lectures at 
the College, and so attended the course of explanation of the Summa 
of St Thomas then being given by the Dominican, Fr, Bordoni. He 
was ordained priest, 8 th March, 1721, after having obtained a dispensa- 
tion on account of age, and said his first Holy Mass at the altar of his 
beloved Saint, Aloysius Gonzaga. After his ordination, the Abate De 
Rossi might easily have obtained one of the minor benefices then to be 
found so abundantly in Rome and the pontifical states, but he preferred a 
life of apostolic activity to one of dignified seclusion. He interested him- 
self in the peasants of the Campagna, at that time a very neglected class, 
owing very largely to the remoteness of their habitations and the absence 
of spiritual facilities, though this latter evil had to a certain extent, been 
remedied by a number of “ chapels of ease ” erected in outlying districts 
by several of the more recent popes. De Rossi mingled with this rough 
race of shepherds, labourers and small farmers, won their hearts by his 
cheerfulness and sympathy, and reclaimed large niunbers from vice and 
ignorance of religious truth. His charity was shown with equal alacrity to 
the prisoners, and he not only greatly benefited this class by his minis- 
trations, but he was the means of getting several reforms introduced into 
the jails which, with the other ameliorations effected either at this time or 
later under Pius VI, made the prisons of the Papal States — ^in the opinion 
of John Howard, the philanthropist — among the best, if not the best, in 
Europe. 

The labours of De Rossi among the “ little poor of Jesus Christ,” as 
he affectionately termed his underworld, left him no time for more (out- 
wardly) attractive penitents. When a prince, on one occasion, asked him 

' Id conjunctioD witli the venerable De Malesherbes and the gifted Des&e. Unlike his 
first courageous colleague, Francois Tronchet escaped the fiends of the Revolution, became 
the friend of Napoleon, and was appointed hj him President of the Court of Cassation, ^ He had 
much to do with the drawing up of the famous “ Code Napoleon.” Died iSo6, aged eighty. 

’ In 1864, the body of Fr. Claude Francis dn Tronchet was transferred to Rome at Ae 
express command of Pius IX, and reinterred in the Monastery of St Bonaventnre on the Palatine 
where the deceased had spent part of his short life. 



214 


ST JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI [May 23 

to be his confessor, the Saint replied: “ People of your rank can find 
thousands of directors, but the poor and despised have the greatest diffi- 
culty in securing the services of even one 1 ” 

In connection with the hospice of St Galla in Rome for the relief of 
the sick and homeless poor, was a society of priests for giving catechetical 
instructions to persons of the indigent class. This society, known as the 
“ Pious Union of Priests of St Galla,” had no more zealous member than 
De Rossi: “He was, indeed, a chosen soul,” wrote the Abate Joseph 
Fuscaglia, “ and he poured out the treasures of his charity on the poor 
inmates of St Galla without stint or measure.” Like the St Cur^ d’Ars, he 
was continually giving away his own possessions to relieve those who 
came to him in distress, so that he never had any clothes but those he 
actually wore. In addition to this engrossing work, De Rossi undertook 
to establish another of his own. This was the Hospice of St Louis for 
homeless women and girls, who, owing to their wretched situation, were 
in constant danger of falling into vice. He rented a large building from 
Prince Odescalchi, and fitted it up as a night refuge. The house was 
opened, 8 th December, 1731, and after initial difficulties were overcome, 
soon had to be enlarged. He was also instrumental in causing a penitentiary 
for fallen women to be founded at the Ripa Grande, where reclamation 
was sought and often achieved by the triple means of religious instruction, 
orderly life and useful work. In 1737, De Rossi lost his excellent uncle, 
Dom Lawrence de Rossi, and to his own great confusion found himself 
appointed to that worthy ecclesiastic’s dignity, that of a Canonry of St 
Mary in Cosmedin. Canon John Baptist de Rossi, as he now was, sub- 
mitted to the command of his confessor and accepted his new position, 
though merely as a means of doing more good. Very soon his confessional 
at St Mary’s was besieged by crowds, so that he had to obtain a dispensa- 
tion from his choir duties — a favour which was readily granted by Clement 
XII. This dispensation was described as a “ fatal relaxation of the rule,” 
by an ill-tempered and malevolent member of the Chapter, named Tosi, 
who for years did all he could to annoy and harass our Saint, who, not- 
withstanding the indignation of the other Canons against the offender, 
would never suffer any steps to be taken by way of retaliation. When his 
persecutor was seized with his last illness, De Rossi visited the dying 
dignitary, treated him with great affection, and so brought him not only 
sincerely to repent of his unworthy behaviour, but also to end in sentiments 
of fervent piety. After about nine years at St Maria in Cosmedin, De 
Rossi, at the earnest entreaty of Cardinal Anton Maria Erba, became the 
Chaplain of the “ Trinita dei Pellegrini,” a hospice for the entertainment 
of poor pilgrims to Rome, especially during the great feasts and jubilees. 
There was always a large number of “ guests ” there, and De Rossi lavished 


May 23] ST JOHN BAPTIST DE ROSSI 215 

on them, in the way of instructions, hearing confessions, and frequent 
spiritual administrations, generally, the same care he had shown to the 
inmates of St Galla. He also, about this time, began a further apostolate 
among the haymakers and other field-labourers who came to Rome from 
distant parts during the harvest time, and with the same happy results. 
As a preacher, he avoided long discourses, flowery oratory and the dis- 
cussion of abstruse and unprofitable subjects, thereby adhering to the wise 
injunction on this subject inculcated in the Catechism of the Council of 
Trent. The Gospel, the lives of the Saints, the Sacraments, and the eternal 
truths were his constant themes, and his addresses invariably “ went 
home 1 ” While seeking the spiritual welfare of the poor, he was no less 
zealous for the promotion of holiness among the clergy, especially young 
priests. He was intimate with the ecclesiastical world of Rome, and never 
ceased to deplore the number of clerics who were content merely to live 
on benefices or family fortunes, with no thought of “ devoting themselves 
to the salvation of souls.” A century later. Bishop Ullathorne was to make 
the same complaint and in the same placel “ To deserve Paradise,” De 
Rossi used to say, ” we must work without intermission.” To overcome 
this “ do nothing ” habit among so many of the clergy, the Saint, in season 
and out of it, urged the necessity of frequent retreats as the best means 
of curing this entirely unbecoming, nay fatal, lethargy. Whenever he 
preached to the clergy, as at Spello, he filled his auditors with enthusiasm, 
and imparted a new spirit which was happily shown in increased activity, 
and a more fervent sacerdotal life. While preaching to, and labouring for, 
others, De Rossi himself was a model of every priestly virtue. All the 
mortifications most usually to be met with in the lives of the Saints were 
his constant practice, and despite his persistent ill-health were never 
seriously relaxed. These austerities were the secret of his success, joined 
to almost perpetual prayer, and a happy manner which at once won the 
confidence of all who approached him. Several times after I 750 > he 
caught the Roman malaria while on his rounds of charity and zeal, and in 
the course of 1 758, it was thought that his end was at hand. He recovered, 
but the hour of death was only postponed for a few years. He was sent 
to Ariccia, near Albano, for his health, but his painful and wasting malady 
increasing, he returned to Rome to the Trinita dei Pellegrini, in October, 
1764. There he lingered for several months, occasionally exhorting or 
hearing the confessions of those who came to him. “ As long as I have 
a breath in my body, I will go wherever I am wanted,” he used to say. 
Finally, after weeks of acute sufferings, the end came suddenly and very 
calmly. This second St Philip Neri had received the last rites of the 
Church, and was apparently following the prayers of the dying, on the 
morning of 23rd May, 1764, when death deprived the Alma Urbs of its 



2i6 


BLESSED ANDREW BOBOLA 


[May 23 

latest and most apostolic labourer. His obsequies in the Chapel of the 
“ Trinita dei Pellegrini,” where his body rests, were the signal for one of 
those demonstrations of veneration and regard which — after making due 
allowance for southern emotion — is the true sign of a genuine tribute 
to a saintly and noble life. The “ Apostle of Rome ” of the eighteenth 
century was Beatified by Pius IX, 7th March, 1859, and Canonized by 
Leo XIII, 8th December, 1881. This great and withal winning Saint is 
one of the patrons of the secular clergy, and chiefly with regard to that 
active lije which it behoves all to lead who are called, not only to the altar, 
but to seek, and possibly to save, those who have strayed far from their 
Father’s house, and are in danger of perishing eternally. 

[Life of St John Baptist de Rossi. Translated from the Italian by 
Lady Herbert. Introduction, etc., by the Bishop of "Salford, 
(London: Thomas Richardson & Son, 1883.).] 


MAY 23 

BOBOLA, S.J., BLESSED ANDREW, MARTYR 

(1590.?-! 657) 

Students of European history do not, as a rule, read that of Poland 
with much patience. The troubles of a country where political divisions 
of a particularly acute kind have been propagated, and where a hardy 
peasantry has been kept in bondage from age to age by state and social 
contrivances scientifically calculated to promote and foster these ends, 
usually evoke from the majority of readers the ejaculation that every nation 
gets the government it deserves ! We think of the insane Liberum Veto and 
the foolish senate that tolerated it; of the eighty-two thousand petty 
tyrants lording it over the land — to recall no further abuses — and at once 
forget, or feel cross over, Campbell’s moving lines anent “ the downfall 
of Poland.” Yet unhappy Sarmatia would have been even worse off if 
to these grave domestic abuses there had been added far-reaching religious 
divisions of the traditional and embittered kind ! Divided as she has been 
civilly, Poland is and always was, “ deeply and intensely Catholic,” and as 
early as 1520 the Diet of Thorn, despite the constant menace of the Liberum 
V eto, unanimously declared against the heresies of Luther. Of course, as 
the progress of private judgment increased religious confusion over 
Europe, it was inevitable that the Kingdom of Poland should be gravely 
infected by it. The ill-instructed and domineering nobles — ^with a view, 
no doubt, to the possible plunder of the Church — in many cases adopted 
for this prospective end, the various tenets of Luther, Zwingli, Calvin, 
etc., as each of these happened to be in the ascendant. The Primate of 



May 23 ] BLESSED ANDREW BOBOLA 217 

Poland, James Uchanski, Archbishop of Gnesen, even conformed to 
Protestantism, and by I 573 j native reformed party could compel 
terms of almost civil equality with the Catholic majority. (“ The Peace of 
Dissidents.”) Though much was done by such zealous prelates as Cardinal 
Stanislaus Hosius, the translator of the Catechism of the Council of Trent 
into Polish, and Stanislaus Karnowski, the Archbishop-Primate, to save 
for their countrymen, the “ faith once delivered to the Saints,” there can 
be little doubt that the Jesuit Colleges and Churches, opened throughout 
the country, mainly owing to the Napoleonic activity of St Peter Canisius, 
had the lion’s share in preserving the Catholicism of the nation. So 
renowned were these seats of learning throughout Europe, that even 
numbers of the non-catholic aristocracy sent their sons to be educated 
by the Society. Among the scions of the ruling classes in Poland, in- 
structed in virtue and learning by the sons of St Ignatius, was Andrew 
Bobola, born at the ancestral Castle of Sandomir, either in 1590 or 1592.^ 
The family of which his father, Christopher Bobola, was the head, origin- 
ally came from Bohemia. Andrew’s parents were both fervent Catholics, 
and it was no doubt their constant excellent example, and the need there 
was for labourers in this quarter of the Lord’s Vineyard, that decided 
their son to enter religion. On 31st July, 1611, the feast of St Ignatius, 
he was admitted a novice of the Society of Jesus at Vilna, in the house 
that had recently been built by a near relative of his own, to replace one 
destroyed by fire. There were at this time some forty novices in the 
house, all leading lives of various degrees of perfection under Fr. 
Lawrence Barlilio, noted for his holiness, and spiritual insight. In 1613, 
Andrew took his first vows. He spent about six years in studying, acquir- 
ing during that time a deep knowledge of the Greek Fathers and the Greek 
language — erudition to be of great value to him in his subsequent con- 
troversies with the schismatics. He taught grammar at Braunsberg and 
and Pultowa, and read a one year’s course of divinity to a class of young 
theologians. He was promoted to the priesthood on 22nd March, 1622, 
the year made memorable in ecclesiastical annals by the canonization of 
St Francis Xavier. In addition to his well-known scholastic and theo- 
logical attainments, Fr. Bobola was even more distinguished for his solid 
piety and deep love of souls. As “ select preacher ” at the Church of 
St Stanislaus, Vilna, he drew great crowds, and although his sermons 
were well prepared and admirably delivered, he aimed rather at fortifying 
the congregation against the prevailing errors of the day than pro- 
ducing. .striking but merely temporary effects. When the plague visited 
the city in 1625 — and what city did the oft-recurring plagues of those 

• The admirable Memoir of the Martyr b7 Pire Olivaint, SJ. (Paris, 1854)1 the 
latter date. 



2I8 


BLESSED ANDREW BOBOLA 


[May 23 

days not visit ? — ^Fr. Bobola and his brethren were untiring in their minis- 
trations among the sick, night and day. Eight fathers of the Society 
died, martyrs of charity, during the epidemic, but Fr. Andrew was reserved 
to glorify God in another and even more heroic way. 

After being removed from Vilna, Fr. Bobola was appointed Superior 
of the Jesuit house at Bobruisk. Not the least part of the edification which 
he gave here, as elsewhere, was through his constant practice of seeking 
the lowest- place, and reserving for himself all the difiicult duties as these 
arose each day. 

Towards the end of Fr. Bobola’s stay at Bobruisk, occurred what might 
well be described as a sort of Cossack jacquerie, but which was destined 
to have momentous results in Poland. The wild nomadic tribes of the 
Ukraine, smarting, it seems, under a sense of injustice, rose up against 
their lords, and having glutted their vengeance, continued, from a sense 
of newly-acquired power, their warlike enterprises in various directions, 
and before long, what had been a more or less local rising became a sort 
of crusade. From a violent redress of domestic wrongs, the Cossacks 
now turned their attention to an invasion of Poland for the purpose of 
overthrowing Catholicism and setting up the Greek Schismatic Church. 
As usual, the heterogeneous following which made up this strange and 
confused army of invasion, was profoundly ignorant, and did not realize 
the comparatively slight differences that, generally speaking, divide Rome 
and Constantinople, outside the great fundamental one, and the Greek 
priests in many cases magnified the points of divergence for the purpose 
of adding fuel to the flame. To heighten the effect of the “ Crusade,” the 
Patriarch of Constantinople sent the Hetman Bogdan, the leader of the 
Cossacks, a Consecrated Sabre and his solemn benediction. The Pope, 
Innocent X, on the Catholic side, despatched to the King of Poland, John 
Casimir, a Consecrated Sword and Helmet. The great battle of Beres- 
tesko was fought on 30th June, 1653, in which the vast hosts of the 
Cossacks sustained a severe defeat, but the trouble did not end here. The 
Russians allied themselves with the Cossacks, and under the Czar Alexis 
Michaelovitch, again prepared to crush Poland which was at this time 
further threatened by a Swedish army under Charles Gustavus. In this 
great national crisis, the Society of Jesus, and the clergy generally, rose to 
the occasion. The schismatic crusade was met by a Catholic call to arms, 
and from every village the youth streamed forth to defend religion and 
fatherland. It was during these wars and rumours of wars, that Fr. Bobola 
was sent to Pinsk, a town situated in the Province of Lithuania, where the 
schismatics were strong, and where the greatest trouble, in view of the 
hostile preparations against the Country, was to be expected. The town 
of Pinsk belonged to Prince Adalbert Stanislaus Radziwill, head of the 



May 23] BLESSED ANDREW BOBOLA 2ig 

illustrious Polish family of that name, and Chancellor of Lithuania. That 
nobleman, a zealous Catholic and patriot, had recently founded a Jesuit 
College in the town for the purpose of strengthening the Faith among the 
people, and Fr. Bobola was now placed over it as the priest most likely to 
ensure its success. At once he set to work. Courses of sermons and long 
hours in the Confessional became the order of the day. Catechism classes 
for the young and uninstructed were organized, and not content with these 
labours, the good Superior made expeditions into the neighbouring towns 
and villages, and in these distant places confirmed large numbers in the 
Faith. The town of Janow, with its overlord. Kopek, was won back to 
the Church.^ These missionary labours greatly exasperated the local Greek 
clergy and their supporters, and the more so, as Fr. Bobola took good 
care in all his discourses and public conferences on religion to show the 
complete accord of the ancient Greek Fathers and learned eastern divines, 
generally, with the doctors and theologians of the West. In fact, it may 
be said here, that it is the persistent misrepresentations of the ofiicial 
teachers of the Greek Orthodox Church that have had so much to do in 
keeping up the unhappy schism since the short-lived reunion at Florence, 
1439-44. To rid themsleves of the “ Latin Priests,” the Greek schismatics 
in the course of 1657, called in the hordes of Cossacks then in the neigh- 
bourhood of Pinsk. These barbarian horsemen began their fanatical work 
by torturing and then beheading Fr. Muffon (15th May). The other 
Fathers had barely time to escape when the assassins burst into the town. 
That Fr. Bobola was the chief object of their search soon became apparent 
by their shouts and questions, but the head of the Jesuit Mission had gone 
to Janow, not to conceal himself, but to continue his usual apostolic minis- 
trations. Though warned of his danger, he took no steps to conceal him- 
self, and it was while driving in a carriage near the village of Poredelno 
that Fr. Bobola was overtaken by the Cossacks and made prisoner (i6th 
May). His savage captors at once overwhelmed him with cruelties. He 
was wounded with sabres and lances, scourged, and dragged over the 
rough ground all the way to Janow, where the persecutors exultingly dis- 
played to the terrified people the mangled and half-dead body of “ the 
Snatcher of Souls 1 ” Instigated to a great extent by their chief, Assa- 
voula, the barbarians again fell on their victim, and continued to wreak 
upon him a whole series of fresh torments. His hands were slashed 
with knives in mockery of the priestly anointing. His hair and skin 
were cut from his head in the form of a supposed tonsure, while 

the rest of his body was flayed to make a chasuble. All this time the 
martyr did not cease to pray for his murderers and to commend his 
soul to God, till finally- the Cossack chief, wearied with the bloodshed 
] The name Janow is spelt Janov in P^e Olivaint’s of the MartTT. 



ST MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL 


220 


[May 24 


and the horrors, put an end to Fr. Eobola’s sufferinss with a thrust of 
his sword. 

After the departure of the Cossack raiders, the mutilated remains of 
the heroic priest were recovered, and after being publicly venerated at 
Janow, were conveyed back to Pinsk, where they were interred in the 
Chapel of the Jesuit College. In 1702, nearly fifty years after these tragic 
happenings, they were still found incorrupt. The body of the martyr 
was afterwards transferred to Polotsk where it still remains. 

Meanwhile a widespread cuhus to the heroic and zealous priest had 
extended not merely throughout Poland, but even to Germany and France. 
The cause of the martyr began to be examined into in 1719} when the 
Bishop of Luck instituted judicial investigations concerning the life and 
death of Fr. Bobola. These were continued in Rome notably, 1755 (Ben. 
XIV), and 1835 (Greg. XVI), when finally on 4th June, 1853, Pius IX 
signed the decree of Beatification of this Blessed Servant of God. The 
Acts of the process had established the evidence of more than eight 
hundred miracles of all kinds, wrought, it is piously believed, through the 
intercession of the valiant missioner, whose glorious death recalls those of 
many of the martyrs of the primitive ages of Christianity. 

[N'oifce Historique sur le Bien heureux Andre Bobola de la Compagnh 
de Jesus. Pfere le R. P. Olivaint, de la MSme Compagni. 
(Paris: Tulien, Lanier et Cie Editeurs, 1854.).] 


MAY 24 » 

POSTEL, ST MARY MAGDALEN, FOUNDRESS OF THE 
INSTITUTE OF THE CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS 

(1756-1846) 

Two names illustrious in the Annals of Catholic education lived and died 
between the years 1756 and 1846. One of these was the Abb^ Mac- 
Pherson, who did so much to rescue and preserve the material possessions 
of the Scots College, Rome, after its seizure and sale by the French in- 
vaders in 1797. The other is St Marie Postel, the story of whose long life 
of ninety years is told in brief in the following narrative. Julie Francoise 
Catherine Postel was born at Barfieur, diocese of Coutances, on Sunday, 
28th November, 1756. Her parents, Jean and Therese Postel were 
persons of superior rank of life, and they gave their daughter an excellent 
education, first at a local school and then at the Benedictine Convent at 
Valognes. The higher instruction of girls of the better class in France, 
as elsewhere, was then not so diffuse as now, but it had the saving merit 

* The day of her Canonization, 1925.' 



221 


May 24] ST MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL 

of being more solid. It comprised a very correct knowledge of the mother 
tongue, history and geography, Latin— this subject usually taught from 
the Vulgate— a modern language, generally Italian, “Court” hand- 
writing, now so much admired, and the then inevitable “ use of the globes.” 
Music was acquired as an additional accomplishment, as fencing was by 
boys, the almost universal practice of duelling at that time making this 
last-named art a practically necessary part of every gentleman’s education. 
At the age of eighteen, Julie returned home " finished ” in the sense that 
word used to be employed by the simple-minded genteel who imagined 
that learning ended with school ! While at the convent, Julie had solemnly 
promised — some accounts say “ vowed ” — to consecrate her life to God 
and her neighbour. She began to fulfil this engagement by opening a 
school both for the poor and for those who were better off. She proved 
a born instructress, and before long even her youngest pupils, little children 
of five and six, could read tolerably well. The young people were well- 
grounded in the Catechism, and in their domestic duties, and many years 
later, the old girls of Mdlle Postel’s school were generally distinguished 
by the care they displayed both of their children and of their homes. 

The good work at Barfleur, as elsewhere throughout France of course, 
ceased with the advent of the Revolution. It is not a little remarkable 
that the very year that British Catholics were liberated from the bulk of 
the penal laws (1791), their brethren in France began to enter upon the 
martyrdom which was to reach its blood-stained zenith under the " l^error.” 
During all this terrible time, Julie was the “ Valiant Woman ” of the hour, 
the “ Margaret Clitherow ” — though happily without the death — of the 
suffering congregation of Barfleur. She courageously refused to attend 
the schismatical services of the “ Constitutional ” priest whom the Jacobin 
authorities had thrust on the parish, but opened a secret chapel in her 
house where the Abbd Lamarche, the expelled Cur^ of Notre Dame de 
Barfleur, said Mass and ministered to the faithful. The chapel was an 
obscure room under the stairs — ^the methods of the former penal times in 
England were, of course, being copied — and there was the usual machinery 
of passwords, secret signs, midnight meetings, hiding-places, etc., as in 
the days of the Blessed Cuthbert Maine and Edmund Campion over here. 

On more than one occasion was this true heroine in imminent danger 
of death. In fact, one midnight, as the priest was saying Mass, a crowd 
of revolutionary soldiers and “ citoyens ” surrounded the house. The 
celebrant had scarcely time to hide himself and the tabernacle, when the 
intruders poured in. “ Come, Citizeness,” said the leader, “ where is the 
priest who was here a minute ago ? ” “ Look for him,” was the fearless 
reply, which the invaders promptly proceeded to do, but fortunately to 
no purpose. This hour of extreme peril as it proved became a blessing 



222 


ST MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL 


[May 24 

in disguise, for as the party was leaving, one of the soldiers, kinder than 
the rest, said: “ Let her alone, she harms no one, but on the contrary, 
does good to the children.” Henceforward, however, it was deemed 
advisable not to reserve the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle. So 
Julie, to her intense joy, was commissioned to carry the sacred hosts about 
with her, and even after the manner of the Christians in the days of the 
early persecutions, to a 4 minister Holy Communion to others. It may have 
been during the course of one of these journeys to the sick, that the “ Vierge- 
PrStre ” — as Julie came to be called from her heroic services to the altar 
and the priesthood — performed one of her most remarkable acts of courage. 
Seeing a duel in progress, she rushed in between the clashing swords, like 
St Telemachus among the Roman gladiators, and with a “ through my 
heart first I ” kind of look, caused the antagonists to desist. It was in this 
spirit that the Christian heroes and heroines of France faced the evils of 
the time, and so left a precious legacy of encouragement to those whose 
lot has been cast in less difficult days. 

When the large contingents of “ intelligent foreigners ” began to tour 
France again as soon as the orgies and horrors of the “ Age of Reason ” 
and the “ Terror ” had made way for sanity and safety, nothing more 
unfavourably impressed the observant than the shocking state of the 
rising generation of the poorer class. The Revolution had swept away 
the whole network of excellent schools of all grades which before 1789 
made France one of the best educated nations in the world, and in every 
town, and throughout every countryside, might be seen the youthful 
victims of the cataclysm roaming about in squalor, ignorance, and, of 
course, vice.^ To “ save the children of the Poor,” was the greatest labour 
of the Church of the Concordat after the restoration of ordered public 
worship and all that this implied. 

Julie Postel was one of the band of heroic women such as Madame de 
Franssu, Foundress of the Nuns of the Nativity, Madame Blin de Bourdon 
and St Madeleine Barat, who nobly came forward to help to meet 
the pressing want. She had been admitted a Franciscan tertiary on 
Christmas day, 1798, and henceforth her life was to be one long struggle 
against almost every difficulty that can assail a founder of any good work I 
In May, 1805, she went to Cherbourg and laid her proposal for a school 
for girls before the Abbe Louis Charles Cabart, chaplain to the hospice 
there. She frankly told him that she had no resources other than Pro- 
vidence and her own labour, but the good priest, greatly struck by her 
earnestness, and knowing already of her zeal and determination, consented, 
and a house in the Rue de Fourdray was rented, and a school opened. 

^ H. R. York: France in 1802. (Heinemaan, 1906.) Arthur Young: Travels in France, 
1787, 1788, 1789 (London ; G. Bell & Sons, 1900.) 



May 24] ST MARY MAGDALEN POSTEL 223 

It soon had three hundred children, and three old pupils of the Foundress 
came as assistants. On the 8th of September, 1807, the four made their 
religious vows before the representative of the Bishop, Mgr, Rousseau, 
Julie taking the name of Mary Magdalen. This was the official com- 
mencement of the Sisters of the Christian Schools, but great trials were 
at hand. Four years later, the Daughters of Providence, the Congregation 
of which had been founded in 1643, by Madame de Polaillon returned 
to Cherbourg, where they had a house before the Revolution. The Pro- 
vidence Nuns conducted schools for orphan and destitute girls, and rather 
than that there should be any rivalry. Mother Mary Magdalen nobly 
resolved to leave the field of work to those who had so long and well 
carried it on. So the newly erected Community migrated to Octeville- 
I’Avenel to leave it in six months to go to Tamerville, All during this 
anxious time, death had been busy with the Community, so that what 
with these losses and the deprivation of the house of Cherbourg, Mother 
M. Magdalen found herself alone with but twelve orphans. A trial was 
made at Tamerville and Valognes, but no success crowned the work, 
and even the faithful Abbd Cabart lost heart and talked of the Institute 
being dissolved. It was one of these crosses that brought out the heroic 
— the St Jeanne d’Arc — spirit in the holy Foundress. “ I am so certain 
that our Lord desires the realization of my projects,” she said, ” that 
I shall none the less promote their execution with the greatest ardour.” 
This noble sentiment seems to have marked the turning point in the 
affairs of the Sisters of the Christian Schools. A little later they were 
invited back to Tamerville, where for a time the little band maintained 
itself by making clothing and umbrellas which were sold in the district. 
The school grew in the teeth of the still besetting difficulties, and was 
“ recognized ” by the Minister of Public Instruction in 1 8 1 8 — after 
Mother M. Magdalen had passed her examination and obtained her 
teacher’s diploma at the age of sixty-two ! In 1817, some of the Sisters 
returned to Cherbourg to open a school that was badly needed in one of the 
new suburbs of that rapidly growing naval port. Another similar founda- 
tion was made at Treville, at the request of the inhabitants. A more 
interesting development — ^from the historical point of view — took place 
in 1832, when Mother M, Magdalen purchased the old Benedictine 
Abbey at Quesnoy in the Commune of Saint Saveur le Vicomte. The 
place had been ruined by some of the ghouls of the Revolution, but once 
in the hands of the good religious it was gradually restored, and soon 
acquired a great and deserved reputation. It was here, in 1836, that the 
Community received the Rule by which it has since been governed that 
of St John Baptist de la Salle— with certain modifications to meet the 
special requirements of the Institute. A decree of Louis Philippe, dated 



22J. 


ST MADELEINE SOPHIE LOUISE BARAT [May 25 

X3tii October, 1838, gave legal status to the Sisters of the Christian Schools 
in France. A splendid church was added to the convent by restoring the 
old one between 1833 and 1841. The grave, injury to two of the towers 
during the severe storm on 25th November, 1842, was another “ cross,” 
to be received by the Foundress, as was her wont, as “ a further sign of 
God’s favour ! ” 

Mother M. Magdalen was now nearing her ninetieth year. She was 
a living “ link,” so to speak, between the reign of Louis XV, and that 
of the “ Citizen King ” and his contemporary, Queen Victoria — ^between 
the ceremonious eighteenth century, with its powdered wigs, sedan-chairs 
and courtly manners, and the iron age of railway trains, the electric tele- 
graph — and nerves I In June, 1846, she began to fail visibly, and on 
the following fourteenth of July, became seriously ill, and received the 
last rites. Almost to the end she recited the Hours of the Little Office, 
and before death, pointed out a passage in the writings of St Bernard, 
as a sort of last monition to her sorrowing Sisters. It ran; “ The religious 
who does not work, is not worthy to be a religious ! ” She died calmly in 
the Lord two days later, and her remains, since 1855, repose in a stately 
tomb in the Abbey Church, by then fully restored under the able direction 
of M. Halley. Numerous miracles, many of them cures of bodily diseases, 
attested still further her sanctity, and on 17th May, 1908, Pius X, decreed 
her Beatification. On 24th May, 1925, the present Holy Father added 
her venerated name to the Saints, to the joy, not only of her spiritual 
daughters in various countries of Europe, but of the whole Catholic world, 
which she has animated by the example of her surpassing holiness and 
unfailing heroism. 

[d"/ Mary Magdalen Postel^ by the Rev. Father Cuthbert, O.F.M. 
(Catholic Truth Society.) Henry Redhead York: France in 
1802. (London: William Heinemann, 1906.) Abb6 L. 
Cristiani: Madame de Franssu, Fondatrice de la Congregation 
de la Nattvite, (Avignon: Aubanel Freres, 1926.).] 


MAY 25 

BARAT, ST MADELEINE SOPHIE LOUISE, FOUNDRESS 
OF THE SOCIETY OF THE SACRED HEART 

(1779-1865) 

Among the many vast problems which confronted the Hierarchy of France 
after the promulgation of the Concordat (1801-2), was the subject of the 
higher education of the laity. The twelve years or so chat had elapsed 



May 25] ST MADELEINE SOPHIE LOUISE BARAT 225 

since the downfall of the old regime with its splendid colleges, convents, 
and schools everywhere, had ushered in a great deal of practical paganism 
with its train of moral evils, and such prelates as Cardinal du Belloy, 
Archbishop of Paris, Cambaceres of Rouen and Du Boisgelin of Tours, 
recognized that unless' the deficiency was speedily rectified, the next 
generation of men and women of the more influential classes of society 
would be characterized by an ignorance of religion even worse than that 
which was the heritage of the cataclysm. But happily the remedy was 
at hand. The age was that of new religious organizations and orders, and 
the modern Catholic education, not only of France but of Europe, may be 
said to date from the commencement of the nineteenth century. Among 
the great pioneers of the movement was Madeleine Sophie Barat, born 
at Joigny (Tonne), 13th December, I779’ father, a wine grower and 
cooper, appears to have amassed a considerable fortune, for he was able 
to give a superior education to his several children, one of whom, Louis, 
became a professor at the college of the town. He was imprisoned in 
Paris during the “ Terror ” and narrowly escaped death. After his 
release, he resumed his studies for the priesthood and was ordained in 
1799. But, meantime, he and his sister went to live with an old maiden 
lady in the Rue Touraine, where the Abbd Barat devoted himself to the 
education of his very near and dear relative. Under his tuition, Madeleine 
Barat became proficient in Latin and Greek — these latter learnt chiefly 
from the Vulgate and Septuagint — in ancient and modern history, Spanish 
and Italian, besides, of course, a thorough grounding in Christian doctrine 
and French literature. Still more, did she learn from this excellent brother 
the spirit of penance and the love of souls which so greatly distinguished 
her through life. The Abbe Barat became a member of a society of priests 
known as “ Les Peres de la Foi.” Their intention was to join the Society 
of Jesus as soon as that should be restored, and meantime they gave 
missions and retreats and conducted schools, not only in France, but 
abroad.^ Pere Joseph Varin, the leading light of the Fathers of the Faith, 
was desirous of instituting a society of women, devoted to the higher 
education of girls, and also to promoting the cu//us of the Sacred Heart. 
He saw in Madeleine Barat a woman made, as it were, for these objects, 
and on 21st November, 1800, she and three other ladies solemnly conse- 
crated themselves to the new and much wanted work. Next year, Pere 
Varin acquired at Amiens an old boarding-school which had become 
dilapidated. He refurbished it, and installed there Madame Barat and 

1 Tte PJres de la Foi had a school for the sons of thee'/w/^^nobilityand gentry in an oJd honse 
opposite Kensington Palace, at the beginning of the last century. Richard Lalor Sheil, the famous 
orator and barrister, was a pupil there before going to Stonyhurst in 1804, and he has left some 
very interesting descriptions of this little French world in his jacy Sketches of the Irish Bar, vol. i. 



226 


ST MADELEINE SOPHIE LOUISE BARAT [May 25 

two of her companions. In October of the same year, a free school for the 
poor was opened in conjunction with the High School, and it soon had 
some 160 pupils, Madame Barat, though much against her inclination, 
had to accept the post of Superior. The rising Foundation was much 
assisted at this time by the able chaplain, Pere Loriquet, who drew up a 
very efficient scheme of studies and other scholastic details. Up to this 
time the Sisters were known as " Les Dames de la Foi,” but as Pere Varin 
was more or less suspected by the imperial Government of royalist tend- 
encies — ^he had formerly been an officer in the Emigrant Army of the 
Prince of Conde — it was considered advisable to change the title of the 
Sisters to that of “ Dames de I’lnstruction Chretienne.” When the 
foundation at Amiens was considered sufficiently able to stand alone, 
Madame Barat went, at the request of Pere Varin, to Grenoble, where 
a Madame Philippine-Rose Duchesne had in vain attempted to reopen 
the Visitation Convent in its former house.^ This community was now 
united to the Dames de T Instruction Chretienne, and later it was the lot 
of Madame Duchesne to introduce the Dames du Sacre CcEur into 
America. After her return to Amiens, Madame Barat received the title 
of Superior-General (1806), though this high position was only obtained 
by one vote, owing, it is said, to an ambitious priest who wished his 
nominee to be elected. The intrigues of this ecclesiastic were a severe 
trial not only to Madame Barat but to the whole community, but happily 
for the success of the work they were not successful. In 1807, a month 
after his hard-won triumph of Eylau, Napoleon by decree legally authorized 
the “ Dames de I’lnstruction Chretienne,” and from this time all anxiety 
on the subject of their civil status was removed. Not long after the Society 
of Jesus was restored, in 1814, by Pius VII, Pere Varin and his colleagues, 
who had now become Jesuits, obtained from the Holy See rules for the 
Dames based on those of St Ignatius. From this time the Institute was 
known as “Les Dames du Sacre Cmur, and this period, 1815-30, was 
vne of great expansion for the foundation, both in France and abroad. 
Houses were opened at Rome (at the Trinita dei Monte), Paris (Hotel de 
Biron), and in America (at St Charles, New Orleans, 1818). An ordin- 
ance of Charles X, in April 1827, approved of the work of the nuns, 
which had already the year before received the special blessing of the 
Sovereign Pontiff, Ixo XII. 

Six years prior to this last event, Madame Barat had convoked a general 
assembly of all the Superiors at Paris (1820), where various regulations were 
drawn up for the purpose of still further improving the educational curri- 

‘ This heroic nnn (1769-1852) belonged on her mother’s side to the distinguished Casimir 
Perier family. Besides founding several convents in the United States, she did much to promote 
the conversion of the Red Indians. 



May 25] ST MADELEINE SOPHIE LOUISE BARAT 227 

culum of the convents, and of inculcating among the pupils a warm 
devotion to the Sacred Heart. Indeed, by this time, the Soeurs du Sacre 
Cceur were famed all over France, and their convents, expecially that of 
Paris, taught the daughters of many of the first families in the Kingdom, 
Side by side with these, more or less aristocratic high schools, the nuns 
have always maintained in each centre a school for poor children, and this 
custom is not the least of the many happy features of this great educa- 
tional Institute. 

As the " Liberal ” Party affected to regard the King, Charles X, aSd 
the Royalists generally as the “ tools of the Jesuits 1 ” it is not surprising to 
learn that during the July Revolution (1830), Madame Barat wisely 
decided to close the house in Paris for a time, and remove the Novitiate 
to Switzerland. But this indefatigable woman never ceased her labours. 
During this period she founded no less than fourteen orphanages for 
the children of the victims of the terrible cholera visitation of 1832, and 
also commenced at Turin the system of retreats for women of the world 
which has since become established almost everywhere. By 1837, the 
Society possessed no fewer than 41 houses, 27 in France, and 14 abroad, 
and two years later a general Council of the Superiors of the various con- 
vents was held in Rome. It was there decided to divide the Society into 
provinces and to have both the Mother-House and the Novitiate in the 
Eternal City for three years, but the opposition of the French bishops, 
notably that of Mgr. de Quelen and Mgr. Affre (Paris), and most of the 
nuns, proved too strong, and in 1843 the Mother-House was restored 
to Paris, first in the old Convent of the Feuillantines (Faubourg St 
Jacques) and then in the Rue de Varennes. 

Those fateful years were followed by very remarkable developments. 
High Schools of the Sacre Cosur were established in 1850 in Holland, 
Italy, Spain, North America, England and Ireland.^ That year the holy 
Foundress lost her agelong friend and counsellor, Pere Varin, but she 
was long ere this the moving power that, under God, directed the whole 
foundation of the Sacre Coeur. To great firmness of will she joined the 
deepest sympathy and kindness, and that happy faculty of letting people 
do their work in their own way. Like Napoleon and all great leaders, she 
knew by a sort of intuition the right persons for whatever task had to be 

» The Sacred Heart Nuns opened a convent at Benymead, near Acton, in 1841. In 1850, 
they acquired “ Elm Grove,” Roehampton, a property formerly belonging to Lord EUenborough. 
The first Superior was Mother Charlotte Goold. The present beautiful Chapel was opened, 
1872, and the same year Rev. Mother Digby became Superior. Under her and Mother Henri- 
etta Kerr, the school greatly developed, and the Children of Mary became very flourishing under 
Lady Georgiana Fullerton and Lady Lothian. The late Mother Janet Stuart, Ae well-known 
authoress of The Education of Catholic Girls, was Superior-Vicar from 1894 till roti. The 
number of boarders exceeds 1 30. 



228 


BLESSED MARTYRS OF UGANDA [May 26 

undertaken. She was consulted by all the great world from Popes and 
Princes to experts on education, such as, the Comte de Falloux and the 
famous Madame de Genlis (1746-1830), whose “ Letters on Education ” 
were oracles on the subject in France till well into the last century. Besides 
a great spirit of prayer, she practised always that rare form of mortification 
which consists of doing the most irksome duties as if they were great 
pleasiures! During the coxirse of her long life she made hundreds of 
journeys, wrote tens of thousands of letters on matters of business or utility, 
in addition to constant interviews, for the same purpose. She died at the 
Mother-House, Paris, on the Feast of the Ascension — the day she had 
foretold — 25th May 1865, and was buried at the Novitiate House at Com 
flans. Her greatest monument — even above the eighty flourishing con- 
vents she left behind her — was that spirit of true Christian virtue and 
solid knowledge which has permeated so many of the women, not merely 
of France, but of the world, a spirit which caused Pius XI to declare, 
when enrolling her name among the Saints of the Church, 24th May, 1925, 
“ that if there still exists among the crowd of worldlings a knot of sensible 
Christian souls, that blessing is largely due to the school of sound Catholic 
education which this great servant of God established and propagated.” 
At the present time, the Congregation of the Sacre Cosur numbers over 
6500 nuns, with about 150 establishments, w’hile their living pupils, both 
past and present, must be reckoned by the million. 

[Almattach Catholique Francais four 1926. (Paris: Bloud et Gay.) 
Madame Barat, par la Comtesse d’Adhemar. (Paris: Bloud 
et Gay.).] 


MAY 26 (?) 

THE BLESSED MARTYRS OF UGANDA 

(1886) 

The somewhat slow, but happily obviously steady, progress made in the 
Christianizing of “ Darkest Africa ” by the various Missionary Con- 
gregations — chiefly French — in the last sixty years or so, prepares us for 
the information that these victories of the Faith have not been won with- 
out a considerable outpouring of that Martyrs’ blood which is the “ seed 
of the Church.” Among the various holy persons beatified by Pope 
Benedict XV, in 1920, were a group of Negro Martyrs of Uganda, whose 
mode of death reminds one of the tortures inflicted on many of the primi- 
tive sufferers for Christianity. In the course of 1876, the illustrious 
Cardinal Lavigene sent a contingent of his well-known “ White Fathers ” 
to commence the conversion of Central Africa. As had so often happened 



May 26] 


BLESSED MARTYRS OF UGANDA 229 

before, notably in China and Japan in the sixteenth century, the local 
powers-that-be were at first friendly towards the new-comers, being no 
doubt glad to accept the various presents they brought with them, and 
to avail themselves of the superior knowledge and general attainments 
of the European strangers. But African and Oriental peoples are notori- 
ously suspicious, and before many years had passed, the success of the 
Fathers, and their great hostility, and that of their many converts, to the 
debasing " Voodoo ” and other pagan rites of Negrodom, soon created a 
distinctly unfriendly attitude towards the missionaries and their congrega- 
tion. This enmity was much intensified by a false report — similar in 
substance to that brought against St Theodore of Tarsus, Archbishop of 
Canterbury, and his companions when passing through France about 
667 — that they were spies and emissaries of an ill-disposed power! Two 
converts of the Fathers, Joseph Mkasa, a Counsellor of the King, and 
Mathias Mouroumba, a greatly revered Judge, were put to death out of 
hatred of Christianity, and under circumstances of revolting cruelty, the 
latter martyr being slowly hacked almost to pieces, and then left to expire 
in agony. The next to die for the Faith were Charles Lonanga and several 
of the King’s pages, young men ranging from about eighteen to twenty- 
five years of age. These were brought before the Monarch and called 
upon to give up Christianity, especially to renounce the practice of “ pray- 
ing.” Upon their refusal, they were condemned to be burnt alive. They 
were each encased in faggots and bundles of reeds, laid upon the ground 
and left to be slowly consumed. During the process of the martyrdom, a 
number of Christian native children standing around showed extraordinary 
fortitude, not only encouraging the sufferers but declaring their eagerness 
to emulate their glorious constancy. Until death put a period to their 
sufferings, these heroic witnesses for the Gospel in this hitherto little- 
known part of the vast African Continent, continued to recite the simple 
prayers and ejaculations they had learnt from the Fathers who had baptized 
and instructed them. 

These events occurred in 1886, On June 6th, 1920, the “Martyrs 
of Uganda,” as they are generally styled, were Beatified at St Peter’s by 
Benedict XV. Among those present on this memorable occasion were 
three elderly men who were among the children present at the martyrdoms 
nearly forty years before. These interesting survivors of an episode of 
such happy augury to the cause of the modern Missionary Church of 
Africa and Catholicism generally, were received by the Holy Father and 
the high officials of the Pontifical Court with marked 'respect, while many 
of the vast congregation present pressed forward to kiss the hands of those 
who had been the companions of, and who might have been the fellow- 
sufferers, with the heroic band now honoured by the Universal Church. 



23 ° 


ST FRANCIS GERONIMO 


[May 26 


MAY 26 

GERONIMO, ST FRANCIS, CONFESSOR 
(1642-1716) 

It is not unlikely that had Francis Geronimo not elected to enter the 
Society of Jesus, he would have risen to very high honours in the Church, 
and died a Cardinal- Archbishop of one of the Sees of Italy. For he was a 
rare example of learning, zeal, and practical ability combined in the same 
person. Born at Grottaglie, Apulia, Italy, 17th December, 1642, about a 
fortnight after the death of Cardinal Richelieu, he was one of the eleven 
children of Leonard! Geronimo and Gentellesca Gravina, his wife, a 
pious couple of the middle class. Of their family, three of the sons, in- 
cluding the subject of this notice, became priests. As soon as he was able 
to read well, the young Francis made a practice of teaching Catechism 
to many of the children of the place, a virtue so often to be met with in the 
lives ot Saints afterwards distinguished for their love of souls. He made 
his earlier studies with the Theatines, and while under their care begun 
those austerities which later became part of his rule of life, fasting much 
and paying long visits to the Blessed Sacrament, especially at night. 
Being intended for the priesthood, he received the tonsure from the 
Archbishop of Taranto in 1638. Most of his ecclesiastical studies were 
made at the Seminary of the last-named city, but towards the end of his 
theological course, Francis proceeded to Naples for the purpose of taking 
his doctorate of divinity at the University. Naples at that time was, 
ecclesiastically speaking, in a very flourishing condition. The clergy 
were learned and zealous, and the laity united and devout. He was 
ordained priest by the Bishop of Pozzuoli, i8th March, 1666. The 
erudition and general abilities of the Abbate Geronimo seemed to mark 
him out for a professional career, and he was offered, and accepted, the 
post of Prefect in the College of Nobles at Naples, an academy under 
the direction of the Jesuit Fathers and devoted to the education of the 
sons of the aristocracy. Notwithstanding the supposed exalted atmo- 
sphere of the place, the College, as was inevitable, had its difficulties. 
Some of the students were inclined to turbulence, and on one occasion, a 
pupil who had been reprimanded by the Prefect for some delinquency, 
so far forgot himself as to strike the latter a heavy blow. Fr. Geronimo 
bore this outrage with quiet forbearance, wisely waiting till time and 
reflection had cooled the anger of his youthful assailant, before speaking 
seriously to him about his abominable conduct. 

On 1st July, 1670, Fr. Geronimo entered the Society of Jesus. His 
family, which, no doubt, like so many other good, but somewhat worldly 



ST FRANCIS GERONIMO 


May 26] 


231 


ambitious people, was expecting its brilliant relative to mount high in the 
hierarchy, was at the outset much opposed to this step, but eventually 
his father saw the excellence of it and personally withdrew his disapproval. 
Fr. Geronimo was now placed for three years in the district of Otranto, 
where he effected much good by his earnest preaching, labours in the 
Confessional, and personal influence among the people. It was his holy 
wish to go to India, after the example of his great patron, S. Francis 
Xavier, but his superiors decided that Naples was to be his “ Indies,” and 
consequently that city became the chief field of his apostolic ministry 
for upwards of forty years. Though Naples, as we have said, was spiritu- 
ally in a very satisfactory state at that time, there was, as usual, much 
work to be done, especially in the poorer quarters. Fr. Geronimo preached 
regularly not only in the Jesuit Church, but following the injunction 
of the Gospel, he went constantly into the public streets and squares, 
and gave courses of open-air sermons to large numbers of people who 
could not or would not be persuaded to hear them otherwise. In addition 
to this method of getting at the stray sheep, he also systematically visited 
the docks, prisons, and quarters of the galley-slaves, and delivered simple, 
yet highly effective, discourses on the principal truths of the Faith to these 
rough and largely spiritually neglected congregations. He had “ a wonder- 
ful way ” not only with these unattractive folk, but also with public sinners, 
some 500 of whom were led to abandon their evil courses as the result of 
his vehement reminder to them of the transient things of time and the 
everlasting ones of eternity! Among these sincere penitents was the well- 
known, or rather notorious, beauty La Bella Venezia. Realizing the 
great value of regular and sustained instruction as an aid to perseverance, 
Fr. Geronimo began, in 1683, his famous series of retreats, beginning 
v.'ith one to the nobility and gentry of the city and district, and continuing 
the course among the convents of the same area. These exercises not 
only reformed or improved the individual, but they also led to the intro- 
duction of a much higher standard of devotion even in religious houses, 
while several abuses arising from isolated instances of relaxed discipline, 
etc., were removed in consequence of the better spirit brought about by 
our Saint The time not spent on these exercises, was devoted by this 
indefatigable missioner to visiting the hospitals, notably those given up 
to the care of incurable or revolting diseases. Witli true sanctity, he 
never manifested the slightest repugnance even when he had to deal with 
persons afflicted with the most loathsome maladies, but was ever willing, 
cheerful and mindful only of the spiritual good to be done. Like all 
sensible people, he abhorred idleness or rather that insidious habit of dally- 
ing, through which so many precious hours are lost. When not otherwise 
occupied — and that was, indeed, a rare occurrence — ^he employed the time 



23a ST FRANCIS GERONIMO [May 26 

at his disposal in making silk or paper flowers for poor churches, an art 
which he is said to have brought to great perfection. 

The missions that Fr. Geronimo gave to the labouring classes, he 
repeated on more than one occasion among the military, and with the same 
good results that attended all his apostolic labours in this direction. These 
happy effects were mainly brought about by the great spirit of mortification 
that permeated all the actions of this wonderful zealot of souls. He 
rose very early, after only about three or four hours sleep, made a long 
meditation, and said Holy Mass with extraordinary care and devotion. 
He habitually wore a sharp coat of mail next the skin, took the discipline 
at intervals, and never, even during the coldest weather, warmed himself 
at a fire. After 1702, he usually spent one-half of each year at Naples 
and the other half, away giving retreats. It was while delivering one of these 
courses to the students of the College at Naples, during the Spring of 17153 
that he was taken ill with pleurisy. He was sent to Colomella to recruit, 
at the country house of the Society, but derived little benefit from the 
change. He returned to Naples and there, on nth May, 1716, the 
“ Apostle ” of the city passed to his reward. For years, Fr. Geronimo 
had been popularly regarded as a “ living Saint.” Even when going about 
the streets he seemed like one wrapped in ecstasy. His obsequies were 
the signal for such an outburst of religious enthusiasm among the excitable 
populace of Naples, that the troops guarding the sacred remains had 
great difficulty in preventing the crowds from carrying away the coffin! 
In 1758, shortly before his own death, Pope Benedict XIV spoke of Fr. 
Geronimo as one who had practised heroic virtues, and all during the 
eighteenth century — despite the general coldness and scepticism of the 
age — there was a growing devotion to the “ Apostle of Naples,” not 
merely in Italy, but in the south of Germany. On 2nd May, 1806, Pius 
VII decreed his Beatification, and it seems that nothing but the spiritual- 
temporal conflict of the Holy See with the colossal power of Napoleon pre- 
vented the Canonization of this great servant of God shortly afterwards. 
He was enrolled among the number of the Saints by Gregory XVI on 
26th May, 1839, on the same day as witnessed the canonization of St 
Alphonsus Liguori, who as a child, had been embraced by St Francis 
Geronimo, many of whose holy methods and practices of piety seem to 
have descended to the great moralist and doctor of the Church. There 
are several, excellent hives of St F. Geronimo including one in English 
in the admirable “ Quarterly Series.” ^ But in all cases, the chief sources of 
our knowledge of his apostolic labours are derived from the characteristic- 
ally modest Briej Notice (“ Brevi Notizie ”), which he wrote of these 
at the express command of his spiritual Superiors. Though-his preaching, 

* Published by Messrs Burns Oates & ^V^ashboume. 



May 28] BLESSED MARGARET POLE 233 

which was so powerful a weapon in the warfare for souls, is often described 
as having been extemporary,” the Saint, as a fact, rarely went into the 
pulpit without careftil preparation of the discourse, as is abundantly proved 
by the many sermon-plans in writing which he has left, as memorials of 
his thoroughness in this as in much else which he achieved. 


MAY 28 

POLE, THE BLESSED MARGARET, COUNTESS OF 
SALISBURY, MARTYR 
(1473 ?-i 541) 

The life of Margaret Pole, Countess of Salisbury, was tragic from her 
cradle to her gravel Nay, even before she was born, death in its most 
violent or dreaded forms had been long busy with her family — hastening 
to extinction a line that had swayed the destinies of England for nearly 
four centuries and a half. Her grandfather was that splendid Richard 
Neville, Earl of Warwick, the mighty King-maker, who as the ” last of 
the Barons,” so fittingly died on the stricken field of Barnet, and whose 
soldier’s passing gave to Shakespeare a theme worthy of some of his most 
affecting lines. Her father was the George, Duke of Clarence, brother 
of Edward IV, whose death in the Tower in January, 1478, has been 
attributed to so many causes. The murdered “ Princes in the Tower,” 
Edward V and his little brother, the Duke of York, were her first cousins, 
while her only brother, Edward, Earl of Warwick, was judicially murdered 
by Henry VII to ensure his own possession of the Crown. The list of 
tragedies in the family of the Blessed Margaret is still far from complete, 
but sufficient instances have been given to justify the description we have 
given of her whole career. 

Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was born at Farley Castle, near Bath, 
on 14th August, in or about the year 1473. Her mother, Isabel, daughter 
of the above-mentioned “ King-maker,” died 22nd December, 1476, and 
her father in the Tower nearly two years later. During the reign of 
Edward IV, little Margaret and her brother were brought up at Sheen, 
with the children of her uncle. King Edward IV. At his death, Margaret 
and Edward, after a short stay at Warwick Castle — their ancestral home 
— resided for a short time at the Court of Richard III. When the crook- 
back King’s son died, the youthful Earl of Warwick became de jure heir 
to the Crown, and Margaret, his sister, in the same way. Princess Royal. 
These short-lived honours, however, ended in 1485, when the victory of 
Bosworth gave the Throne to the Tudor Adventurer who, as Henry VII 



234 


BLESSED MARGARET POLE 


[May 28 

was to introduce a new dynasty and the oldest and most repulsive form 
of Oriental despotism into the realm 1 England, as the late Mr J. M. 
Kerr shows in his well-known Elements of Public Law, was as practically 
free in 1485 as she was in the nineteenth century. By the time of the 
death of Harry Tudor’s appalling son, the country had become as abject 
and prostrate as any of the dominions of contemporary Sultans or Rajahs ! 

In 1491, when Margaret was about eighteen years of age, she was 
married by the King, Henry VII, to a distant relative and thorough-going 
supporter of his own. Sir Richard Pole. The Order of the Garter was 
conferred upon this gentleman, who hailed from Buckinghamshire, and 
in i486, on the birth of Prince Arthur, the King’s eldest son, he received 
the high position of Governor to the Prince of Wales. 

Lady Pole, as she was now, appears to have been happy in her union. 
Five children were born of the marriage, and both she and her husband 
stood high in the favour of the cold and calculating King. But one dark 
cloud hung ever over her. All this time her unhappy brother, the true 
heir to the Crown, lay in the Tower, his only “ crime,” of course, being 
that summed up in the phrase, ” the right of the first-born is hisl” Secluded 
from all society, and most shamefully neglected, the poor young Earl of 
Warwick grew up in almost total ignorance and simplicity, so as not to 
know, as men said, “ a goose from a capon.” Once, to expose the Lambert 
Simnel pretentions by the most convincing of all proofs, Henry caused 
the unhappy youth to be paraded through London, and this show duly 
over, the royal captive was again consigned to his lonely prison. Then 
in 1499, came his alleged attempt to escape, together with another claimant, 
the plebeian Perkin Warbeck, and the cruel and selfish despot had a plausible 
pretext for bringing the ” last of the Plantagenets to the scaffold.” This 
was one of the most brutal and callous State murders in the whole of 
English history, and the absence of any sort of protest either from the 
servile hierarchy or the upstart lords that bowed down before Henry’s 
throne, shows how deeply the nation had already sunk in political and 
social slavery! The decapitated corpse of the young and perfectly innocent 
Earl, thus foully done to death, was interred at Bisham Priory, near Maiden- 
head, a place where his grief-stricken sister was to find a home nearer the 
end of her own sorrow-laden and tragic life. 

When the sickly Arthur married Catharine of Aragon, and went to 
keep his short-lived Court at Ludlow Castle, Lady Pole became one of the 
ladies of the Princess of Wales. The appointment must have carried 
with it poignant reflections on both sides. For Catharine herself believed — 
and was later bitterly to make her foreboding known — tha t no good could 
come of her union with the scion of the Tudor House, since that union 
had been brought about by the price of innocent blood 1 For the “ most 



May 28] BLESSED MARGARET POLE 23^ 

Catholic ’’—and most calculating— King Ferdinand VII, her father, had 
made it one of the conditions of his daughter’s nuptials, that there should 
be no claimants to the English Crown. His royal brother of England 
had forthwith nobly obliged by presenting to the Monarch of Castile 
and Aragon, the head of the innocent Warwick on a charger — and all 
went merry as a marriage-bell ” — ^for a time 1 Catharine on her side, soon 
conceived a great affection for the sister of one so cruelly sacrificed to 
make smooth her own matrimonial path. She did all she could to forward 
the interests of the Pole family, notably after the death of Sir Richard in 
^ 5 ° 3 * There can also be little doubt that when, in November, 1513, 
Parliament reversed the infamous Act of Attainder passed on her murdered 
brother and restored to Margaret’s family the title and estates, forfeited 
on that iniquitous occasion, the excellent Queen Catharine again proved 
herself a friend at Court, and facilitated by her influence the partial un- 
doing of this hideous murder by statute. 

When the Princess Mary, afterwards Queen, was baptized in the 
Church of the Franciscan Observants at Greenwich, the Countess of Salis- 
bury — as Lady Margaret Pole had now become, owing to the reversal 
of her brother’s attainder, and the restoration of the ancestral honours — 
held the child at the font. Nine years later, she was nominated Governess 
of the Princess, and appointed to preside over the Court of the little royal 
lady at Ludlow Castle, one of the ofEcial residences of the Princes and 
Princesses of Wales. 

Meanwhile the children of the Lady Salisbury were growing up, and 
the most interesting of them was undoubtedly Reginald, the future 
Cardinal and last Catholic Archbishop of Canterbury. Endowed by Pro- 
vidence with great personal beauty and rare mental gifts, he possessed 
what was greater than these, that sense of principle, and that elevated 
moral standard which were so conspicuously lacking to the ruling and 
upper classes throughout the Tudor period. A boy Bachelor of Oxford 
at the age of fifteen, he had afterwards studied the Canon Law at Padua. 
The world, indeed, was at the feet of this singularly gifted youth. Henry 
was to think of making him Archbishop of York after the death of Wolsey, 
and still later was even more intensely to think of having him assassinated! 
Meanwhile, as a most winsome and delectable youth, he was a decided 
“ catch ” from the matrimonial point of view, and good Queen Catharine, 
ever eager to serve a family that had suffered so much through her, but 
surely not by her, had ideas of marrying the Princess Mary to the brilliant 
son of her almost lifelong friend. The " future ” of the much-discussed 
Reginald, however, was settled, and settled finally by the complications 
and menaces of the royal divorce question which became acute about 

1547-8. 



236 


BLESSED MARGARET POLE 


[May 28 

A litde later, the French Ambassador Castillon, horrified at the well- 
nigh weekly slaughter that had become almost a mere incident in the life 
of England at this period, exclaimed: “ I think few Lords feel safe in this 
country ! ” Reginald Pole, to whom the King looked for learned and moral 
support at this crisis, was certainly one of the majority, so to save his head, 
he prudently withdrew to the Continent, under the pretext of pursuing his 
theological studies. 

The immediate effect of the King’s divorce and subsequent marriage 
with Anne Boleyn, was to deprive the Countess of Salisbury of her post 
of Governess to the Princess Mary, and, indeed, to cause her forcible 
separation from her charge to whom she had become tenderly attached. 
Robbed thus of the friends of her youth — doomed to see many of them die 
in prison or on the scaffold — herself declared illegitimate and deprived 
of her just rights — is it any wonder that Mary learnt to loathe the very 
name of the “ Reformation ? ” For from the first, its aiders and abetters 
ever showed themselves the thick and thin supporters of despotism — the 
despotism that plundered the church and the poor— -cynically gave the 
“ people ” a Bible which most of them could neither read nor understand 
— and filled the whole country with nauseating phrases and catchwords 
redolent of cant and hypocrisy ! All this has to be borne in mind in judging 
of the Queen of “ bloody ” memory. After the breaking up of the 
Princess Mary’s household, Lady Salisbury went to live for a time at 
Bisham, close to her murdered brother’s “ last long home.” 

The greater Abbeys, as is well-known, were not suppressed till 1539, 
but for many months before this, it was generally understood throughout 
England that the Religious Houses were doomed. Henry’s prodigality 
was enormous, and his meretricious Court and the host of extravagances 
its pleasures — noble and ignoble — entailed, made him cast envious eyes 
on the age-long monastic Foundations and their material possessions. 
This was quite apart from their known dislike of his schismatical policy, 
and so the fate of Abbeys and Priories was soon sealed. The Priory of 
Canons Regular of St Augustine at Bisham was dear to Lady Salisbury arid 
her family, apart from its sacred character, and the fact that the remains 
of their murdered relative, the ill-fated Earl of Warwick, lay buried within 
its precincts. For it had been founded by William de Montacute, Earl 
of Salisbury, in the reign of Edward III, and so might almost be regarded 
as a quasi possession of the house. Lady Salisbury now advised the Prior 
Kot to resign the Priory unless the inevitable occurred, when, of course, 
all would be able to see that the dissolution had been made by force. The 
said Prior was ejected to make way for the notorious William Barlow, who 
shortly afterwards “ surrendered ” the House to the King. 

The year that saw the passing of Bisham and the rest of the abodes 



May 28] BLESSED MARGARET POLE 237 

of the Monks of Old,” was the year of the appearance of Reginald 
Pole s treatise De U>:iiafe Ecc/esias/ica, The book gave the lie to almost 
every one of Henry’s recent declarations on the subject of the Church, and 
in arraigning him at the bar of ecclesiastical history and Catholic doctrine, 
exposed him to the condemnation of Europe. The rage of the royal Nero, 
of course, knew no bounds. In vain did he command Pole to return to 
England without excuse or delay — so as to lose his head! Equally in vain 
did he instruct Sir Thomas Wyatt and other of his agents abroad, to have 
his daring relative assassinated.^ Pole was now a Cardinal and busy 
pushing forward the initial negotiations and arrangements that were to 
prepare the way for the Council of Trent. His office as Legate to the 
Low Countries was all in the same direction — to make peace between the 
Emperor and France, and so facilitate the opening of the Council that 
was to do so much to heal the wounds of Holy Church. He was not, as 
Lingard shows {History^ vol. v., chap, ii.), engineering a crusade against 
the Tudor Monster, though, no doubt, the thought of such a movement 
was uppermost in many minds. 

Unable either to get the Cardinal in his toils or murdered out of hand, 
Henry struck at his kinsfolk and acquaintances. In November, 1538, 
Henry Lord Montague, Sir Geoffrey Pole, Sir Edmund Neville, the 
Marquis of Exeter, and Sir Nicholas Carew, were lodged in the Tower on 
the usual charge of “ Treason.” 

Historic accuracy compels us to admit that Cardinal Pole, like Lord 
Stafford in 1680, was not " a man beloved of his own realtives,” at least 
in this crisis. His own mother had seen the danger likely to arise from his 
book and had even spoken of him as “ a traitor.” His brother, Lord 
Montague had likewise written letters of remonstrance to him. Needless 
to say all this was largely pro jorma to divert Henry’s fatal wrath, but 
whatever was the object all was in vain, and this crowd of noble person- 
ages, except Sir Geoffrey Pole, were done to death after the usual judicial 
mummery on Tower Hill, 3rd January, 1539. Before being officially 
murdered, Lord Montague asked for absolution for having taken the Oath of 
Supremacy, and this fact is said to have sealed his fate. The “ execution ” 
of these gentlemen, as usual, caused universal horror, and Henry was widely 
compared to the worst of the persecutors in the days of pagan Rome, 
though that heathen city, at least, had the advantage of a Pretorian Guard 
to deliver its citizens from their tyrants when these got past all bearing. 

While her family was being prepared for the slaughter — to make a 

• Two ruffians nearly carried out the King’s benign intention concerning his kinsman, 
but Pole magnanimously forgave the would-be murderers, and merely sent them to the ^Ileya 
for a few days. But after this he increased his bodyguard which then formed part oi every 
Cardinal’s household, at least m Italy. 



BLESSED MARGARET POLE 


[May 28 


238 

Tudor holiday — the now aged Countess of Salisbury was living in retire- 
ment at Warblington, near Havant in Hampshire. She was arrested 
there by Fitz William, Earl of Southampton, and Goodrich, Bishop of 
Ely, 13th November, 1538, and almost immediately removed to Cowdray, 
Sussex. Here she remained several months, being treated by the Earl of 
Southampton, her jailer, with great harshness. Her trunks and coffers 
were searched, and in one of these was found a tunic or “ vestment,” 
embroidered with the Five Wounds. It looks as if an ordinary tabard 
adorned with one of the devices of the Plantaganets, Margaret’s ancestors, 
had come to light, but Cromwell and his Master affected to see in this old 
raiment a traitorous connection with the “ Pilgrimage of Grace,” the 
banner of which was a representation of Our Lord’s Wounds. Another 
murder by Act of Parliament, of course, went forward, and on 28 th June, 
1539, the Countess of Salisbury, her eldest son, the Marquis of Exeter, 
and a number of other persons of lesser degree, including three Irish 
priests “ for carrying letters to the Pope,” were added to the “ attainted ” 
victims of the King. 

The news of his dear mother’s condemnation greatly affected the 
Cardinal. “ You have heard, I believe, of my mother being condemned 
by public Council to death, or rather to eternal life,” he wrote on 22nd 
September, of the same year. “ Not only has he who condemned her, 
condemned to death a woman of seventy — than whom he has no nearer 
relative, except his daughter, and of whom he used to say there was no 
holier woman in his kingdom — but at the same time her grandson, son 
of my brother, a child, the remaining hope of our race.i See how far this 
tyranny has gone, which began with priests, in whose order it only con- 
sumed the best, then [went on] to nobles, and there, too, destroyed the 
best.” {Epistola Pali, ii. 191.) 

On the very day that the obsequious Divan, misnamed Parliament, 
passed the Bill of Attainder, Margaret was transferred from Cowdray to 
the Tower. There for two years, she suffered much from cold and neglect, 
for she had been hurried to London without any time to make the necessary 
preparations. At last it was resolved to add her venerable name to those 
of the other martyrs of the Faith. She was sacrificed out of hatred to 
her son, the great champion of the Church, whose discourses and writings 
had done so niuch to expose to the, world the villainies of the Tudor 
Tiberius and his Sejanus, Thomas Cromwell, and make all just men shrink 

* This “ remaining hope of our race ” was Edward Courtenay, Earl of Devon, who after a 
captivity of sixteen years in the Tower, was among the prisoners released by pueen Mary im- 
mediately after her accession, 1553. Had he been “ possible,” there is little doubt but that 
the pueen would have married him, and so saved all the odium and trouble that followed from 
the highly unpopular Spanish match.” Courtenay, who had probably been ruined in character 
by neglect and imprisonment, soon left the country, and ended his unworthy life at Padua, 1556. 



May 28] BLESSED ROBERT JOHNSON 239 

with horror at the very mention of the names of these two oppressors of the 
human race. The Countess of Salisbury was taken to East Smithfield early 
in the morning of -zSth May, 1541, and there beheaded on a low block or 
log in the presence of the Lord Mayor, Aldermen, and a few other specta- 
tors. The regular headsman was away from London at the time, and his 
deputy, an unskilful lout, hacked at the blessed Martyr in such a way 
as to give some foundation to the story afterwards made current by Lord 
Herbert of Cherbury, that she had refused to lay her head on the block 
and was, therefore, struck repeatedly by the executioner till she fell 
dead. Before her death, she prayed for the King, Queen (Catharine 
Howard), Prince of Wales (later Edward VI), and the Princess Mary. 
Her last words were; “ Blessed are they who suffer persecution for justice’ 
sake for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” 

The body of the Blessed Margaret, Countess of Salisbury, was in- 
terred in the Tower, in that Chapel dedicated to St Peter’s Chains, whose 
illustrious dead and historic associations are enshrined in Macaulay’s 
memorable lines. She was declared Blessed with many of the rest of the 
English Martyrs by Leo XIII, 29th December, 1886. Others than her 
co-religionists, no doubt, like to reflect that a life, so marked by piety, and 
so full of griefs ever heroically borne, has after the lapse of nearly four 
centuries been thus honoured, and that the last direct descendant of the 
Plantaganet line has her place in the Hagiography of the Church so long 
associated with their sway. 


MAY 28 

JOHNSON, THE BLESSED ROBERT, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(.?-I582) 

A Shropshire man, and, as it is said, sometime in service in a gentleman’s 
family, Robert Johnson left England not long after the ‘‘ Rising of the 
North,” 1569, in order to avoid the persecution which then became very 
severe. His preliminary studies seem to have been made at the German 
College, Rome — the English College not then being in existence — and 
about 1576, he went to Douay, where in April of that year, he took priests 
orders. Before leaving for England, he made the “ Spiritual Exercises ” 
under the Jesuit Fathers at Louvain. He again made the course when he 
revisited Rome in 1579 } Mr Johnson was a man of great religious 
fervour, and as a priest on the then harassed English Mission, he knew 
both that he carried his life in his hands and the necessity of being always 
well prepared. Before leaving Rome for the return journey he received 
from Gregory XIII fifty crowns for his expenses — a gift which was after- 



240 


BLESSED ROBERT JOHNSON [May 28 

wards made one of the charges against him at his trial. While on the 
way from Rome to Rheims Mr Johnson unfortunately fell in with the 
wretched Sledd or Sleydon, the notorious Government spy. Sledd made it 
his business to mark down priests and students, ingratiate himself into 
their confidence, and then send all the information he could collect to 
Burleigh or Walsingham. Mr Johnson, however, despite the apparent 
Catholic zeal of his new acquaintance, must have had his suspicions, for 
he had not been very long in the spy’s company, before he had to reprove 
the latter for his loose behaviour. After reaching England, our missioner 
went to Ingatestone Hall, Essex, the seat of the Petre family, where he 
presumably ofiiciated as Chaplain, but not long afterwards was arrested 
in London at the instance of the above-named Sledd. The priest was on 
his way to a secret meeting of the Catholic Clergy and Laity in South- 
wark, convened to ascertain the line of action intended to be pursued by 
the Jesuit Fathers now for the first time coming, officially, on the mission. 
Mr Johnson was passing through Smithfield when he was seen and 
denounced by the spy, but the parish constable who came up, being 
probably a Catholic, made various excuses, and though as in duty 
bound he followed the priest, the latter was eventually arrested by the 
bystanders. 

From about 12th July, 1580, to 4th December of the same year, Mr 
Johnson was confined in the Poultrie Compter, but in the last-named 
month was removed to the Tower. Here he was several times racked, 
though with what object is not clear, but no doubt, his place of confine- 
ment — a noisome, underground dungeon, called “ Whale’s boure,” was 
almost as great a torture. He was tried and condemned to death with the 
Blessed Edmund Campion and several others, i6th November, 1581, 
but was respited till the following May. In the interim, he was called 
upon to answer questions regarding such points as the Pope’s deposing- 
power, hypothetical invasion by the Pope’s order, etc., which, as explained 
before, were speculations for the schools, and had nothing to do with the 
matter now in hand. But that his death was for the usual cause, the 
spiritual supremacy of the Apostolic See, is abundantly clear from the 
following dialogue which took place between him and the Sheriff at 
Tyburn: 

Sheriff: “ Dost thou acknowledge her [the QueenJ supreme head 
of the Church in ecclesiastical matters ? ” 

Blessed Robert: “ I acknowledge her to have as full and great 
authority as ever Queen Mary had, and more with safety and conscience I 
cinnot give her.” 

Sheriff: “ Thou art a traitor, most obstinate.” 

Blessed Robert: “ If 1 be a traitor for maintaining this Faith, then 


May 28] BLESSED JOHN SHEET 24, 

was King Henry and all the Kings and Queens of this realm heretofore 
and all our ancestors were traitors, for they maintained the same.” 

Ostensibly the Blessed Robert Johnson died for being, as was alleged, 
privy to the much advertised “ Rheims and Rome Conspiracy,” a plot 
which only had existence in the minds of the English Privy Council, 
but which was much flourished about at this time to divert the attention 
of the masses from the fact that the Catholic priests who died at Tyburn, 
died for the Key-stone article of the Catholic religion and for nothing 
more. The “ Plot,” which was supposed to have for its object the murder 
of the Queen, was always repudiated by the condemned, many of whom 
were able to prove by witnesses that they were actually in this country 
when they were asserted to be abroad and deep in the “ Conspiracy,” 
The " Plot,” however, long served its purpose, in blinding the vulgar to 
the real point at issue, and in helping to raise up that wall of prejudice which 
has ever since been one of the chief barriers against the return of the 
people of this country to the faith of their forefathers. 

MAY 28 

SHEET, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(?- i 582) 

Charles Dodd (Hugh Tootell) in his Church History of England^ states 
that the Blessed John Shert was born at Shert Hall, near Macclesfield. He 
took the B.A. degree from Brasenose College, Oxford, 17th January, I 567 > 
and then became a schoolmaster in London, where he was celebrated for 
his excellent method of teaching. As a clever “ coach,” he seems to have 
flourished exceedingly, and might have made a small fortune out of 
pedagogy, but gave up all to go to Douay to study for the priesthood. 
For a time, however, he was secretary to Thomas Stapleton, D.D., Professor 
of Divinity at Douay University, and a theologian termed by Wood “ the 
most learned Roman Catholic of all his time.” Such a post under such a 
scholar, must have been a liberal education in itself. He was enrolled a 
student at the College (Douay), January, 1576, but made a short stay in 
England that year, apparendy for the purpose of bringing back two 
students to the College, and then on 9th November, left for Rom^ to be 
one of the number of six students who began the “ Roll ” of the “ Vener- 
abile.” The College was at first housed in the old Hospitium of the 
English pilgrims, and the names of the historic first students are: 

John Shert (Subdeacon). Thomas Bell. 

John Askew. John Mush. 

John Gore. William Low. 



242 BLESSED JOHN SHEET [May 28 

As the Annals of the English College did not begin to be kept till 
1^79, there is no record of the Blessed John Shert’s ordination in Rome. 
But he was the first priest of the “ Venerabile ” to come on the English 
Mission (after 27th August, 1578), and the second of its forty Martyrs 
to win his crown. Mr Shert’s priestly activities are stated to have been 
pardy in Cheshire and partly in London. These labours must have 
been very extensive, as within a year or two he was already a marked man, 
known at least by name to the notorious priest-hunter Geo. Eliot, ^ and 
inquired after ofiicially by the Privy Council. During his short time on 
the Mission he passed under the names of Shorte or Stalie, and is supposed 
to have lodged in or about Holborn, always a great centre of Catholicism 
by reason of its many taverns, very useful for meetings, and the proximity 
of the Inns of Court, where so many “ papist ” lawyers, students, and even 
priests resided. By July, 1581, however, Mr Shert was certainly in 
custody, for on the 14th of that month he was in the Tower with two 
other priests, the Blessed John Payne and George Goodsalve. 

Mr Shert was among those indicted for the trumped-up “ Rome 
and Rheims Plot,” and on 17th November, 1581, received sentence of 
death. Like so many of the other Catholic prisoners at this period, he was 
interrogated on the speculative points relating to the exercise of the papal 
authority, which, as before observed, were matters for the schools, and not 
for Courts of Law, which deal only with overt acts. After long and weary 
months of imprisonment, he suffered at Tyburn on 28th May, 1582, 
together with the Blessed Thomas Ford, whose hanging and disembowelling 
he had first to witness before his own end came. He solemnly disclaimed 
any part in the treasons alleged against him, adding: ” I acknowledge her 
[Elizabeth] for my Sovereign Lady and Queen, for whose prosperous 
estate and well-doing I did always pray.” Asked about her supreme- 
governorship over the Church of England, he replied: “ I will give to 
Csesar that which is his, and to God tiiat which belongeth to God. She 
is not nor cannot be [Supreme Head], nor any other but only the Supreme 
Pastor.” As the executioner was about to do his fell work, the Martyr 
exclaimed: “ Domine, Jesu Christe, Fill Dei Vivi, pone passionem, crucem 
et mortem tuam inter judicium tuum et animam meam,” and so saying, he 
passed througfi his last tribulation to life eternal. 


^ Styled by the Catholics, “ Judas ” Eliot I 



May 29] 


BLESSED RICHARD THIRKELD 


243 


MAY 29 

THIRKELD, THE BLESSED RICHARD, PRIEST, MARTYR 

(?-i583) 

The name of the Blessed Richard Thirkeld, which is also spelt Thirkell, 
Therkeld, and Thrilkelde, may be presumed to be of ancient Saxon origin. 
He was born at Cunsley, Durham, and was, it seems, a student at Queen’s 
College, Oxford, 1564-5. The gap between his Oxford career and his 
going to Douay has not been filled up. He was priested at Rheims, April 
If 7 95 together with William Hanse, brother of the Martyr, the Blessed 
Everard Hanse. Mr Thirkeld’s fervour was such that after the ordination 
he observed to his brother priest, “ God alone knows how great a gift 
this is that has been conferred upon us this day 1 ” The subject of the 
ineffable eucharistic sacrifice became his constant meditation, and under 
its influence he advanced very far in spiritual perfection. 

After returning to England, the Blessed Richard Thirkeld laboured 
in Yorkshire, and was frequently entertained by the Venerable Margaret 
Clitherow in the house at York which she kept for the use of the missionary 
priests. Mr Thirkeld not only visited and strengthened the persecuted 
faithful in his wide district, but he also compiled a history of those of the 
County of York, who up to that time had given their lives for the old 
religion. Unfortunately, this document subsequently fell into the hands 
of the pursuivants and was destroyed. No doubt it contained many valuable 
personal recollections and local information, generally, which would have 
thrown much light on the difiiculties and sufferings of our Catholic fore- 
fathers during the mid-Elizabethan regime. While visiting a poor 
Catholic in prison at Kidcote Jail, Ousebridge, on 24th March, 1583, 
Mr Thirkeld was arrested by three priest-hunters and taken before the 
Lord Mayor, He made nU disguise of his real character, but refused to 
say anything that might bring others into trouble. By means of his 
keys, his belongings were traced to the house of a poor widow, and all 
the books of theology and devotion he possessed were taken to the market- 
place and burnt. 

He was tried at the York Assizes, 27th May, appearing in Court, 
to the great surprise of all, in a priest’s cassock and biretta ! He was con- 
demned to death for the then recently created treasonable offence of 
having absolved and reconciled certain of the Queen’s subjects to tne 
Church of Rome. After receiving sentence of death, the worthy priest 
continued to perpetrate this ” treasonable ” act, for he instructed, te^ 
conciled and absolved several condemned felons in the Castle Prison, 
and so enabled them to make their peace with God and to die well. Before 



244 


BLESSED THOMAS COTTAM 


[May 30 

his trial he had a controversy with the Dean of York. The Church of 
England at that time was the most Protestant perhaps of all the “ reformed ” 
bodies, and nearly all its clergy had gone over to Calvinism. The priest 
showed the Dean that such doctrines as the Invocation of Saints, and the 
Authority of the Pope are to be found over and over again in the writings 
of the Fathers, as are the other so-called “ popish ” points of belief, and he 
referred that dignitary principally to the works of St Augustine. This 
led to an angry scene, but the priest kept to his point until the matter 
ended. 

On 29th May, 1583, the Blessed Richard suffered at the York Tyburn, 
at Knavesmire. To prevent any relics of the holy _ Martyr from being 
collected by the faithful, the body was afterwards burnt in a great fire, 
and the ashes scattered. In spite of this precaution, a small piece of linen 
from the Martyr’s shirt is venerated at St Benedict’s Priory, Colwich. 
It is inscribed: “ Of ye shirt of Mr Thirkeld pt. and mart, at York.” 
How it came to be preserved is not stated. Several letters of the Martyr, 
full of spiritual unction, are also extant, written by him shortly before he 
consummated his glorious course. 

[Challoner; Memoirs, B. Camm: Eng. -Martyrs^ vol. i.] 


MAY 30 

COTTAM, THE BLESSED THOMAS, MARTYR 

(1549-1582) 

Among the Catholic non-jurors of England in 1715, was a family named 
Cottam, of Dilworth in Lancashire, a county always very staunch to the 
ancient Faith, and at that time so much in sympathy with the exiled James 
III and VIII, as to supply by far the largest part of the English contingent 
of the Jacobite Army which, under the inept Mr Foster, M.P., smrendered 
at Preston to Generals Wills and Carpenter on ist November of that 
year. Yet the Cottams had not always been Catholic. Lawrence Cottam, 
the Squire of Dilworth, like so many of his kind, had gone with the tide, 
and. accepted the State ecclesiastical arrangements as made by Henry VIII, 
and disarranged by Edward VI and his Zwinglian advisers. Thomas 
Cottam, the Squire’s son, was born I 549 > and educated at Oxford, at the 
College with .the name which time has changed from comic to venerable. 
He graduated B.A. from Brasenose, 23rd March, 1568, and then, like so 
many other young ’Varsity men before and since, did a turn of school- 
mastering. While teaching schoolboys in L/Dndon, Lily’s famous Grammar^ 



May 30] BLESSED THOMAS COTTAM 245 

beloved of Etonians ! Mr Cottam became acquainted with Mr Thomas 
Pound of Belmont, a Catholic gentleman, who had long been in prison 
for the Faith. Through Pound’s godly life and conversation, as the phrase 
then went, Mr Cottam was led back to the Church of his forefathers some 
time prior to 1575. Later, he gratefully reminded his benefactor of this 
in a letter containing the following passage: “ Through you the divine 
mercy recalled me from my wanderings, raised me up when fallen, 
sustained me in my wavering, preserved me in my trials, restored me 
when lost.’* 

It has been supposed that at the time when this letter was written, or 
a little later, Mr Cottam was already a student for the priesthood at Douay. 
He was ordained Deacon at Cambrai in December, 1577, and after a visit 
to England, returned in May of the next year (1578). Most of the follow- 
ing year was spent in study at Rome, partly it seems at the German College. 
Mr Cottam while in the Eternal City was admitted a novice of the Society 
of Jesus, being consumed with zeal to go to India and there labour in a 
field rendered illustrious by the then (comparatively) recent missionary 
exploits of St Francis Xavier. The new novice’s Superiors, nowever, did 
not consider him “ a man of great or perhaps even of average talents ” 
(Letter of the Father-General S.J. to Fr. Wm. Crichton, Provincial at 
Lyons). His health, moreover, was bad, and it was ultimately agreed 
that he should go to France or England to recuperate, with the prospect 
of returning and maybe of going to India if he got better. This was the 
understanding, so that Mr Cottam was never formally dismissed from 
the Society, of which he has always been generally regarded as one of the 
Martyrs. He returned to Rheims in company with the Rev. Robert John- 
son, later martyred. He was ordained priest at Soissons, and probably on 
28th May (Ember Saturday), and on 5th June, left for the English Mission 
together with Edward Rishton, Dr Humphrey Ely, then a layman and 
Doctor of Laws of Douay University,* John Hart, and Thomas Crane. 
But the quartette were already marked men. In coming from Rome to 
Rheims, Mr Cottam had fallen in with the subsequently notorious spy, 
Sledd or Sleydon, who appears to have been “ all sorts of things,” including 
the post of serving-man to Dr Saunderson in Rome, and a student at 
Rheims. He was a fellow of loose morals and no principle, and so soon 
turned informer and put himself at the disposal of Burleigh as a detector 
of priests. Sledd had already sent on information about Mr Cottam and 
his party, so that when the four landed at Dover, they were at once detained 
and searched. Dr Ely had often crossed and recrossed before, and was 
well known to the authorities at Dover by sight. He was no doubt re- 

’ He subsequendy became a priest (1582) and died Professor of the Canon and Civil Law 
It Pont 4 -Mousson in 1604. 



246 


BLESSED THOMAS COTTAM 


[May 30 


garded as a mere man of business, so was allowed to go, but not so Mr 
Cottam, who, after some delay, was, to save further expense, delivered over 
to Dr Ely under bond, the latter undertaking to give him up to Lord 
Cobham, the Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports, then in London. As a 
Catholic, Dr Ely resolved not to carry out the order of the Mayor of 
Dover, and on reaching London he parted with his legal charge. But 
Mr Cottam being of very tender conscience, considered that he was bound 
to give himself up rather than risk getting his friend the doctor into trouble, 
and on consulting divines received two replies— one advising and the other 
denying the moral necessity of the proposed course ! The problem was 
solved by the host of an Inn at Dover, where Mr Cottam had stopped 
during his detention, and who had made himself responsible for his safe 
custody, coming up to London and insisting on either the doctor or the 
priest surrendering to the authorities. Mr Cottam then at once gave him- 
self up and was lodged after a time in the Marshalsea (27th June, 1580). 
In the following December he was transferred to the Tower, and so far 
from receiving better treatment for his very honourable conduct in sur- 
rendering himself, was inhumanly tortured on the “ Scavenger’s Daughter,” 
not to discover alleged plots and conspiracies, but merely to elicit for what 
sins penances had been imposed upon him ! Mr Cottam was indicted at 
Westminster Hall, 14th November, 1581, together with the Blessed 
Edmund Campion, Sherwin, Kirby, Bosgrave, Johnson, Orton, and Rish- 
ton. The charge was coming into England to raise a rebellion against the 
Queen ! 

At the trial, Mr Cottam greatly insisted that his whole object in coming 
to this country was merely for his health, having been advised to do so 
by the doctors in Rome. That being attained, it had been his intention, 
he said, to proceed as a missionary to the Indies. He also repudiated any 
ownership of a book entitled Tractatus Conscientia^ for the (supposed) 
purpose of enabling Catholics to evade questions about the royal 
supremacy, etc., which work it was alleged had been found among his 
possessions. He was, nevertheless, convicted and sentenced to death. 
Like so many priests at that time he found means to ofier Holy Mass 
in his cell before the end. At Tyburn, on 30th May, 1582, he repeated 
the Psalm Miserere with the Pater, Ave and other usual prayers, asking all 
Catholics present to pray for him and for the realm, “ that God would 
call this people to repentance to see and acknowledge their sins.” When 
the executioner began the ripping and quartering part of the sentence, 
a coarse canvas shirt was found on the martyr’s body in default it is 
supposed, of a haircloth. The mangled remains of the Blessed Father 
and those of his fellow-martyrs were not distributed around the town, 
according to custom, but were buried under the gallows, that no relics 



30] ST JOAN OF ARC 247 

might be taken away by their Catholic brethren, as so often happened 
at that time. _ 

[H. Foley: Records of the English Province S.J., vol ii. Part of 
the carpal bone of the Martyr and the corporal used by him 
at his Mass in the Tower, are preserved at Stonyhurst College. 
A piece of the Martyr’s heart is among the relics at the Arch- 
bishop’s House, Westminster.] 


MAY 30 

ST JOAN OF ARC, VIRGIN 
(1412-1431) 

Transparently simple as were the whole life and actions of the spotless 
Maid of Orleans, her biography is nevertheless one that presents a con- 
siderable initial difficulty. It is a theme that requires a sort of historical 
disquisition by way of introduction. The reason of this is, of course, that 
her personal narrative is so interwoven not merely with the complicated 
history of France and England during the period of her short and glorious 
career, but that considerable reference has to be made to events immedi- 
ately preceding the stirring years that witnessed Joan’s meteoric rise, 
triumphant progress, and tragic death. 

When Edward III took active steps to enforce his shadowy claim to 
the Throne of France, and so began the hideous welter of blood and ruin 
known as the Hundred Years War, he bequeathed that legacy of hatred 
which from age to age has divided the two nations more effectually than 
the Channel that physically separates them. The renewal of that claim 
by Henry V in 1415, however, has no such measure of guilt. For Henry, 
according to Professor York Powell, seems to have been really impressed 
by the sporadic, but none the less formidable Lollard movement, with its 
scheme of a sort of federal republic by captains over each shire, and Lord 
Cobham (Sir John Oldcastle) as head or president over all. This and the 
deadly, though for the time being slumbering, feud between the descendants 
of Edward III, and also the knowledge of the inferior claim of his own 
branch of the family to the Crown, made Henry very desirous of securing 
a place of independent retreat in case of drastic political changes. At the 
time of his death, 1422, all fear of a possible revolution had passed away. 
His own commanding abilities, the stupendous victory of Agincourt and 
other brilliant successes in France, had made him one of the first monarchs 
in Europe, and, to say the truth, this “ England’s Darling thoroughly 



248 ST JOAN OF ARC [May 30 

deserved his good fortune, for after becoming master of the north of 
France, Henry had introduced order and good government into a country 
not only harassed by war, but long notoriously oppressed by its own 
despotic seigneurs and the other incidents ” of a feudalism easily the 
most galling in Europe. On the French side not only was the King, 
Charles VI, mad, and the Dauphin a minor, but the members of the royal 
family of France were at open feud with each other, each faction being 
quite prepared to aid the invader for its own private ends. Ever since 
1407, there had been a more or less continuous civil war in the distracted 
country between the Armagnacs and the House of Burgundy, arising out 
of the murder of the Duke of Orleans, the King’s brother, by John, Duke 
of Burgundy. Four years later. Burgundy openly requested and received 
help from England in the form of money, knights and archers. Even 
the death of Henry V did not alter much the situation of affairs in France. 
His able brother, John, Duke of Bedford, continued his wise rule over 
the spheres of English influence. He enforced strict justic and good 
order, put down the brigands who often, in the uniforms of English 
soldiers, oppressed the wretched peasantry, fostered trade and lightened 
the taxes, so that many Frenchmen, especially of the merchant class, 
welcomed, rather than opposed, so just and firm a rule. Paris was not only 
under the English, but was curiously enough strongly pro-English, so that 
it seemed not unlikely that the little Henry VI, who when ten years old 
was actually crowned King of France at Notre Dame, would eventually 
rule without opposition over the two nations. But, meanwhile, Charles VI 
had died and with the accession of his son there also arose a new and 
strong feeling of patriotism and of “ France for the French.” Charles VII, 
though emphatically not “ every inch a King,” was at least a rallying point 
for the party of la Patrie, which now concentrated all its efforts on saving 
the City of Orleans then closely invested by Thomas de Montacute, Earl of 
Salisbury. After his death — from a splinter of a cannon-shot — ^the siege 
was continued by the Earl of Suffolk, and great were the sufferings of the 
miserable inhabitants. The Scots had long been in France fighting side 
by side with their natural allies, the French, the hereditary foe of both 
nations, but the combined effort of Sir John Stewart and the Count de 
Clermont to prevent food from being brought up to the besiegers, ended 
in the severe defeat of Rouvray, humorously known as the “ Battle of 
the Herrings.” ^ The deadly shafts of the English Archers again proved 
too much for French lance and Scottish broadsword, and so desperate 
grew the situation of the city, that not only was a surrender proposed, but 
the Dauphin, ever faint-hearted, thought of abandoning France, at least 

* From the rampart of herring barrels and flour carts with which the English couvoys pro- 
tected themselves against the Fmnco-Scottish attack. 



May 30] ST JOAN OF ARC 249 

for a time. It was at this point of the national crisis, that effectual help 
came, and from the most unlocked for quarter. 

On 6th January, 1412, there was born at tlie obscure village of Dom- 
remy, on the banks of the Meuse, and near the fair and typically French 
province of Lorraine, Jeannette, or Jeanne, or Joan D’Arc, daughter of 
pious parents of the peasant class. The family-name seems to have been 
originally spelt Dare. Her father, James, and mother, Isobel Dare were 
not only devout and laborious, as became a son and daughter of Catholic 
and rural France, but they are described as having been people well 
endowed with that strong self-reliance, shrewd common sense, and sturdy 
independence, which modern “ civilization " with its constant bureau- 
cratic interference, and widespread, free, uniform “ education,” has 
rendered almost as extinct as the classical case of the Dodo 1 Jeanne, their 
daughter, certainly, and no doubt the other children as well, inherited 
these splendid and irreplaceable qualities in a very marked degree. Up 
to about the age of sixteen, Jeanne or Joan, to call her by her most gener- 
ally known name, led the ordinary life of a peasant girl of her class, doing 
her part in ploughing, sowing and harvesting, tending the parental flocks, 
and at home spinning hemp and wool, and attending to other feminine 
domestic duties. She was a singularly pious girl, even among a simple 
and devout people, hearing Mass daily, making frequent visits to the 
Blessed Sacrament, and often undertaking journeys of devotion to places 
of religious repute. Messire Guillaume Fronte, the worthy Cur6 of 
Domremy, later left a record that Joan was “a simple and good girl; 
pious, well brought up and God-fearing, and without her like in the whole 
village.” To her other acts of personal piety, she added great charity 
to the poor, even to the extent of giving up occasionally her own bed to 
some necessitous wanderer, and sleeping herself on the floor by the 
hearth. 

The terrible foreign war which had so long devasted France, was 
painfully brought home to the retired village-folk of Domremy by the 
actual experience of invasion itself. The poor people of Domremy had 
more than once to flee before the bands of marauders who warred on the 
unhappy natives in the name of one or other of the contending parties, 
and on one occasion the htunble home of the Dares was plundered and 
burnt to the ground ! This dreadful experience and also some old pro- 
phecies to the effect that the “ fair realm of France ” was to be delivered 
from the terrible English by a woman, made a great impression on little 
Joan, and the theme and all that it stood for, soon became her constant 
meditation and the subject of most fervent prayer. 

On the 17th of August, 1424, the French and Scots under the 
Earl of Douglas (Due de Tourraine), met with an overwhelming defeat 



2^0 ST JOAN OF ARC [May 30 

at Verneuil, at the hands of the Duke of Bedford. So many Scots and 
Frenchmen fell beneath the “ cloth yard ” hail of the English Archers, 
that the field resembled a shambles rather than a place of battle! The 
news of this appalling catastrophe, which for the time stunned every 
French Nationalist, set Joan praying the more. The following summer 
(1425) Joan was one midday in her father’s garden, when, as she said: 
“ I heard a voice from God for my help and guidance. The first time 
I heard this voice, I was very much frightened. I heard this voice to 
my right towards the Church. Rarely do I hear it without its being 
accompanied by a light. ... I believe it was sent to me from God. 
When I heard it for the third time, I recognized that it was the voice of 
an Angel.” She always asserted that she was as sure that the voice came 
from God, as she was as sure of the Christian Faith I 

But the “ Voices ” did not come alone. They were presently accom- 
panied by visions of the holy Angels, accompanied by St Michael the 
Archangel, and at other times by Angels with apparitions of St Catharine 
and St Margaret (Queen of Scotland, d. 1093). These Saints as described 
by her were adorned with “ beautiful and precious ” crowns, and the 
voices were sweet and subdued, yet unmistakable in their commands. 

At first, the messages were personal and general. Joan was bidden 
to continue to be a good girl, to go often to Church and put her trust in 
God. Then at last came the crowning order. She must leave Domremy 
and go and deliver Orleans. Joan, needless to say, was dumbfounded! 
She, a poor, unlettered peasant girl, knowing nothing of the science of 
war or of the world, ordered to go forth and tell this mysterious occurrence 
and conunand to great lords and captains, and persons in authority gener- 
ally ! The idea might well seem too absurd even for the wildest dreamer, 
but the visions continued, and the Voices became more imperious than 
before I 

Joan’s whole conduct throughout this extraordinary episode, shows that 
she was no visionary, no dreamer nor schemer, eager to be led, but a girl of 
remarkable common sense and most rare prudence. She consulted her 
uncle, Durant Laxart (or Durand Lassois), a sensible, matter-of-fact man, 
who at first did not put any credence in what she told him, but finding by 
time and experience how insistent his niece was, and how free her narrative 
was from any taint of personal conceit or self-seeking, the shrewd yeoman 
finally agreed to do as she requested. This was to go with her to Vau- 
couleurs to see the King’s Commander, Robert de Baudricourt^ there, 
and tell him of her mission and of the heavenly commands which dictated 
it. Joan succeeded so far in getting more than one interview with de 
Baudricourt, though, of course, it was not until after many difficulties had 
been surmounted — ^harsh rebuffs, ridicule, wearisome delays — ^all of which 



30] ST JOAN OF ARC 251 

had to go towards the testing and perfecting of the wondrous maid. 
Military leaders in all campaigns are accustomed to be harassed by 
cranks and self-styled geniuses eager to show them how “ to win the 

war, ^ so we cannot perhaps wonder at de Baudricourt’s extreme reluctance 
to listen to, much less to be impressed by, this apparently impossible 
story. But listen, at length, the rough but honest soldier did. In brief, 
her communication was that she was to go to the “gentle Dauphin,” 
obtain an army from him to raise the siege of Orleans—" take him to be 
annointed at Rheims, win back Paris and drive the English from the 
realm.” 

Armed with a letter from de Baudricourt and accompanied by Jean de 
Novelonpont, her two brothers, and a suitable escort, Joan, after a perilous 
journey through the territory of the Burgundians — the Allies of the English 
— ^reached Chinon on 6th March. She recognized the Dauphin in spite 
of his well-prepared disguise, and delivered her message in open court. 
She conjured him by St Louis and «?/ Charlemagne to believe her. Pre- 
lates, courtiers, lawyers, and the worldly-wise generally, had to be won over, 
but in the end, Joan, clad in bright armour and mounted on a coal-black 
steed, was allowed to have her way and proceed with the army detailed to 
raise the siege of Orleans. She carried a sacred sword found, according 
to her prophecy, under the altar of the Church of St Catharine de Fierbois, 
and bore a white banner adorned with lilies, and the holy names: “ Jhesus, 
Maria,” separated by a cross. 

The English had raised a quantity of very strong earthworks and 
bastions about the city, and it is not quite clear how Joan and the relieving 
force with her came to pass, as they did, into the beleaguered place. For 
though the besiegers swore to burn “ La Pucelle ” as a witch, if they 
caught her, “ they did not try to stop the army that was with her from 
coming into the town.” ^ In the series of desperate sorties that now 
ensued, the English, though hitherto seemingly invincible, so that two 
hundred of them used easily to rout four times that number of Frenchmen 
(Dunois), were everywhere worsted, and their chain of works one by one 
destroyed. Amidst all this heavy fighting, the glorious Maid was the life 
and soul of her countrymen, even though when wounded severely, as she 

was, by an arrow during one of the assaults. In the attack on the great 
“ bastille ” known as “ Les Tourelles,” she said to her soldiers: “ Wait 
till my banner touches the fort, then go in and all is yours.” They did so, 
and very soon the place was in their hands. The siege of Orleans was 
raised, 9th May, 1429. In the next campaign, victory everywhere 
followed the wondrous “Pucelle” — at Jargeau Troyes, Beaugency, and 
Chalons. But Joan did not rely on courage and enthusiasm alone. She 

1 p. York Powell : History of England, vol. ii. 



252 ST JOAN OF ARC [May 30 

insisted on the army of the deliverance purging itself from the sins and 
scandals which had filled the encampments and garrison towns with dis- 
orders and immoralities, and, indeed, the mere presence of the stainless 
Maid was almost of itself enough to repress all that was morally wrong. 
As a leader, this girl of eighteen showed herself not only valiant to an 
extraordinary degree, but she displayed military qualities that can only 
be described as Napoleonic. In all the battles up to her appearance in 
the field, the mighty red yew bows of the English Archers, and their 
cloth-yard shafts tipped with keenest steel, calculated to pierce the finest 
mail and plate, had ever proved irresistible. To the deadly arrow-voll^s 
of the foe, Joan now opposed the concentrated fire of field-pieces, with the 
result that the old archer formations were broken up and their discharges 
rendered far less effective. 

On 17th July, 1429, the Dauphin was solemnly crowned at Rheims, 
and duly anointed from the sacred Ampoule^ traditionally believed to have 
been used at the baptism of Clovis.^ Joan, who, during the imposing and 
triumphant ceremony had stood by the King amidst the Peers of France 
with the Oriflamme in her hand, now declared her mission accomplished 
and begged leave to be allowed to return to her home. Her earnest re- 
quest was refused. She and her family, however, were ennobled, though 
Joan never sought any worldly distinction being more than satisfied that 
her heaven-appointed task to deliver France from the foe and hand her 
country over to its rightful King, had at last been achieved. As usual, 
Joan spoke but the simple truth when she declared her life-work finished. 
In the sortie from Compiegne on 24th May, 1430, the Maid was taken 
prisoner by the Burgundians, and after four months’ imprisonment in the 
Castle of Beaulieu was sold to the Duke of Bedford by John of Luxem- 
bourg for 10,000 Uvres. 

What Burke wrote about “ the age of Chivalry ” in 1794, applies 
with even greater force to the disgraceful epoch of 1430-31. For all its 
mailed knights and belted counts and earls, its portcullised castles and 
streaming pennons, “ the age of Chivalry ” by the mid-fifteenth century 
was indeed “ gone.” We gladly refrain from detailing the barbarous and 
cowardly insults and outrages that were now heaped upon the defenceless 
“ Pucelle ” by her infamous captors. The subject, bad as it is, is, however, 
less odious than that of the shameful abandonment of the Maid by the 
poltroon Charles VII and his contemptible Court. Vile as the conduct 

J The Ampoule (Latin Amp-ulla), was a glass cruet containing the chrism used for the anoint- 
ing of the Kings of France at their Coronation {Sacre) at Rheims. The ancient Ampoule of 
Rheims was broken by a Jacobin during the Revolution, but a portion of it is said to have been 
presented, and the oil conteined therein was used at the Coronation of Charles X — the last 
ceremony of its kind in France — in 1825. 



2^3 


30] ST JOAN OF ARC 

of the English was, these brutal soldiers and officials were after all, Joan’s 
sworn enemies— the men from whose grasp she had snatched at the e'leventh 
hour the glittering prize of victory. But the cur of a King and his infamous 
minions owed everything to Joan’s prowess, and they abandoned the incom- 
parable Maid without even apparently considering further her cruel fate ! 

The marvellous successes of the “Pucelle ” had been widely attributed 
by her enemies to sorcery, and Bedford, in fact, had openly denounced the 
amazing heroine in the full tide of her victories as a “ Lyme of the Feende! ” 
As a prisoner of war, Joan could not legally be punished, but as a reputed 
witch, matters were very different, and it was resolved to prostitute justice 
and pervert the canon law to encompass her destruction. The abetters 
and tools of this horrible crime were the vile Pidrre Cauchon, Bishop of 
Beauvais and a " Court ” of some fifty ecclesiastics and law}'ers of a like 
kidney, and all, of course, Bedford’s men. The trial of the Maid began 
at Rouen on Wednesday, 21st February, 1431, and with a few adjourn- 
ments the horrid travesty of justice lasted till 23rd May. Without help 
of any kind, the Maid heroically faced her judges, or murderers rather, 
consistently maintaining that her Voices and her Mission were alike from 
God. A garbled account of her case was submitted to the Sorbonne, 
which, being entirely in the English interest, returned a condemnation — 
though a qualified one — of the accused. By a base trick — ^well worthy 
the abandoned wretches whose " hour ” it was — ^Joan was led to retract, 
though when Cauchon and some of his assessors saw her in prison on 
28th May, she withdrew her so-called “recantation ’’ and reaffirmed her 
belief in the divine nature of her cause. This was enough. As a relapsed 
heretic, Joan was burned to death in the Market Place at Rouen, 30th 
May, 1431 — and the world has ever since shuddered at the crime ! “ My 
voices were from God,’’ declared the dying heroine of France, who in death 
as in life, was true to her sacred cause. 

Twenty-four years after this unspeakable crime. Pope Calixtus III, 
at the representation of Joan’s family and faithful friends, caused the whole 
process to be reinvestigated, with the result that the “ trial ’’ was declared 
to be ‘‘full of iniquity,” and “manifest errors in fact as in law.” The 
verdict in consequence was proclaimed “ null, non-existent, and without 
value or effect.” Solemnly published in the Archbishop s Palace at Rouen, 
and immediately throughout France, the reversal of the infamous sentence 
was received everywhere as “ the triumph of truth and justice. The place 
of Joan’s fiery death was marked by a splendid cross, and the day of her 
passing from the injustice of the world to the joys of Paradise, kept, especi- 
ally at Orleans, as a solemn feast. Belief in the Maid’s heroic sanctity 
^ew with time, and passed from France over the whole Catholic world. 

On 8 th May, 1869, the Archbishops and Bishops of France presented 



254 ST JOAN OF ARC [May 30 

a petition for her canonization, and quarter of a century later (27th January, 
1894), Pope Leo XIII declared “this most perfect daughter of her 
Church ” — ^as the late Andrew Lang styled her — “ Venerable.” Her 
Beatification at St Peter’s on nth April, 1909, in the presence of seventy- 
five Archbishops and Bishops of France and 40,000 French pilgrims, 
preceded by eleven years the crowning act of the Canonization of the 
illustrious Maid by Benedict XV, on 1 6th May, 1920. The Great War had 
ended, and in the comparative quietude that followed the strife and 
tumult of those fateful years, all lovers of truth and justice had oppor- 
tunity to join joyfully, at least in spirit, with the great and sacred act which 
irrevocably enrolled Joan of Arc among the celestial company of the 
Saints. 

It has often been asked, in what precisely did the “ Mission ” of St 
Joan consist? For clearly the mere temporal independence of her country 
could scarcely have formed its object, especially in view of the miserable, 
anarchic state of France at that time, and the undoubtedly excellent prospect 
of good and settled government held out by the probability of English 
rule. Even many Frenchmen, as we have seen, having enjoyed the 
blessings of peace, order, and civil justice under Bedford, were quite 
prepared to acquiesce in a change of rulers. Catholic writers explain the 
meaning and scope of the mysterious “ Mission,” thus: If France had 
passed definitely under the rule of England, then in the following century 
the powerful Huguenot party which subsequently arose, would, backed 
by the might of the Tudor dynasty, have wrested from the Church her 
“ eldest daughter,” and France thus have been lost to the Faith. Even 
as it was, this eventuality came within measurable distance of being accom- 
plished! The determination and vast resources of Protestant England 
would have made that menace a certainty. With the loss of France would 
have disappeared entirely, or rather never have come into being at all, 
the religious orders and congregations, the colleges, schools and number- 
less other ecclesiastical foundations which in the past three centuries 
have so powerfully extended, not only in France, but throughout the 
world, the teaching and influence of the Church. Not merely if France 
be largely Catholic to-day, but if all the blessings and advantages just 
named have been preserved to the Church, are facts entirely due, under 
God, to the Glorious Maid whose unflinching heroism, constancy, and 
devotion have given us the victory! 

[A vast and almost entirely enthusiastic literature has grown up 
around the life and history of St Joan of Arc. Admirable 
biographies of the Saint are to be found in English by the 
late Andrew Lang (The Maid of France)^ and by Monsignor 



May 31 j 


ST ANGELA MERICI 


255 


Stapleton-Barnes {Blessed Joan the Maid). St Joan of Arc, 
a short pamphlet, Lije, by J. B. Milburn (Cath. Truth 
Society), also gives an excellent summary of St Joan and 
her time. English readers, too, are deeply indebted to the 
learned researches of the late Canon Wyndham of West- 
minster, which have done a vast deal to present a true and 
well-informed account of the wondrous heroine, and so 
made the labours of her many biographers much easier than 
they otherwise would have been. 


MAY 51 

ST ANGELA MERICI, VIRGIN 
(1474-1^40) 

Though doubtless the bright lights and heavy shades of virtue and vice 
were undulating all over Italy, as elsewhere, when St Angela Merici was 
born at Desinzano, a small country town to the south-west of Lake Garda, 
2 1st March, 14745 it is pleasant to think that she was one of the group 
of holy women who either contemporary with, or just before her, have so 
powerfully aided to foster the traditional piety of Italian rural society. 
The very year of Angela’s birth, the Blessed Catarina de Palanza was 
edifying Verese, while St Veronica of Milan was the wonder for sanctity 
of that great and luxurious city. At Orzinovi, in the diocese of Brescia, the 
Blessed Stefana Quinzani, and at Mantua, the Blessed Osanna Andreasi, 
were just reaching womanhood and both were later to have their share in 
the influencing of St Angela’s life. 

The father of Angela was Giovanni Tommaso Merici. Her mother’s 
maiden name was Biancosi, but there is, indeed, “ a sad dearth ” with 
regard to the family history of the Saint. There were besides Angela 
four other children, one, an elder Sister to whom she was so dearly attached 
and three others. One of these was a brother equally dear to Angela, but 
as no reference is made to the rest, it has been surmised that they were 
either dead at, or shortly after, the time of Angela’s birth. The Merici 
family seem to have been of the upper middle class, well off, indeed, but 
not of noble descent, though some branches of the stock afterwards married 
into the patrician houses of Bertalozzi, the Counts Lanfranchi and the 
Counts of Tracagno. 

In the Merici household the pious custom of family prayers eveiy 
night was the rule, and not only that, but Angela’s father made it his 
practice to read daily to his children extracts from the Lives of the Saints, 
especially those passages which illustrated the practical aspects of the 



ST ANGELA MERICI 


256 


[May 31 


piety of holy personages of all ages. Very soon little Angela and her 
sister, who, as before remarked, was somewhat older than herself, and also, 
it is said, her little brother, were so fired by these stirring examples of 
devout heroism in the service of God and our neighbour, that they tried 
to carry out in their own young lives some of the mortifications and other 
ascetic practices associated with the wonderful characters whose histories 
they had heard read. There is, of course, nothing priggish or affected 
in this. It is part of that innate desire to chastise the body and bring it 
into subjection, which from the days of St Paul downward forms that 
ideal of holiness through mortification which presents itself to every 
Catholic who is really seeking the Kingdom of God and His justice. But 
midnight vigils, long prayers and fasts are not for children, nor, indeed, 
for anyone without due authorization, and the reader, therefore, will not 
be surprised to learn that these ascetic exuberances were soon put a stop 
to by the wise parents of our Saint- Though Angela was so holy a child, 
and her father and mother, as we have seen, were persons of uncommon 
piety, she did not make her first Communion till she was thirteen years 
of age — a very advanced period of her life, even when all allowances are 
made for whatever circumstances may have retarded the initial reception 
of the holy and life-giving Sacrament. Had she lived two centuries later, 
no doubt this fact would have been ascribed by her biographers to the 
influence of Jansenism, but whatever the cause may have been, her first 
Holy Communion was soon followed by two great sorrows — the deaths of 
her father and her sister. In families united by deep devotion and close 
affection, such occurrences are always of the nature of calamities, but in 
this instance the tragedies were heightened by the further consideration 
that in neither case did the deceased receive the last Sacraments ! We at 
once recall the dramatic lament of the troubled ghost on the battlements of 
Elsinore at a deprivation so poignant to every Catholic heart,^ but to 
Angela these deaths, and that of her sister especially, were almost crushing 
blows. But like every heroic nature, she refused to let mere grief stand in 
the way of duty. Besides, there were her widowed mother and young 
brother and the affairs of the family to attend to, and it was at this crisis - 
that she received the first of the several recorded great spiritual mani- 
festations which were to be vouchsafed her during her life. This was the 
Vision of Our Lady surrounded by the holy Angels, which appeared to 
her during the harvest-time near a farmhouse, Imown as Le Grezze on 
the Macchetto road, near her home. At the same time, she distinctly 
heard the words: “Angela, only persevere in the path you are following, 
and you shall have a share with us in the glory you behold.” This appari- 
tion must have greatly fortified the Saint and enabled her to endure her 

‘ Hamlet : act i., scene jv. 



May 31] ST ANGELA MERICI 2^7 

third bereavement, that of her dear mother, which occurred not long after- 
wards. Angela and her brother were now left alone in the world, and thi;s 
being the case, their maternal uncle, Biancosi, who lived at Salo, kindly 
invited his nephew and liiece to take up their abode with him and his 
family at the latter place. It was during the early part of their stay there, 
that Angela and her brother tried to carry out the idea of a hermit life 
in the mountainous country around Lake Garda. But the would-be St 
Scholastica and St Benedict were brought back to their good uncle’s house, 
for other reasons apart, the times were not favourable to a revival of the 
eremitical life of the early ages. France and Venice were at war, and the 
troops of Charles VIII were making their presence felt everywhere. 
Angela’s devotion to her brother seems to have been at this time greatly 
intensified owing to a probable interior admonition of his early death, 
which occurred not long after the episode just referred to. 

When Angela was twenty-two, she returned to her own home at 
Desinzano, the property of which, meanwhile, had been very carefully 
managed by her good uncle from Salo. She took with her a young lady 
of about her own age, and one like her, truly devout. The two were en- 
rolled in the Third Order of St Francis, and though they did not at this 
time open a school in their house as has been alleged, they did interest 
themselves greatly in the religious instruction of children of the poorer 
class. This and the practice of prayer and various austerities became the 
rule of Angela and her companion for many years, and, indeed, it may 
be said to have formed the only actual training for what was to be her life- 
work. Among her neighbours at Desinzano were a gentleman and his 
wife, Jerome and Caterina Patengoli, who soon conceived a great admira- 
tion for the virtues and practical good works of their two young friends. 
They both belonged to Ae city of Brescia — the Brixia of the Romans — 
which had but a few years before been stormed by the French under that 
much-vaunted pattern of Chivalry, Gaston de Foix, and subjected to one of 
the most horrible pillages and massacres in history 1 ^ Yet with the wonder- 
ful recuperativeness of the Latin race, the enterprising people of the place 
were rapidly rebuilding their stricken city. The Patengolis were desirous 
of having Angela with them to console them for the loss of their own dear 
children snatched from them by one of those fatal epidemics which follow 
in the wake of war. With the consent of the Franciscan Superiors of the 
Third Order, without whose advice she never undertook any work of 


» Brescia was taken by the French nnder Gaston de Foix, Feb. 1512, when, it is said, 
40,000 of the inhabitants were massacred ! The plunder was valued at three millions of 
crowns. A Histery of France to the Fall of the Second Empire, by W. H. Jervis. (John 
Murray, 1898.; 


S. 



ST ANGELA MERICI 


458 


[May 3 1 


importance, Angela, in 1522, went to live in Brescia with her good friends 
the Patengolis. There she soon became the prime mover of another 
series of beneficent works, and a pious citizen, named Antonio dei Romani, 
was so impressed by the good results of her labours, that he offered her a 
large room in his own house for the meetings of the young persons, especi- 
ally those of her own sex, who came to her for instruction and spiritual 
advice. In May, 1524, Angela and her cousin, Bartolemeo Biancosi, 
went with a large body of pilgrims to the Holy Land, and it was during 
the progress of the voyage there, from Venice, that the Saint was struck 
with blindness. Though she had always longed to see the places associated 
with Our Lord’s life and death, she accepted this mysterious affliction 
with her usual resignation to the divine will. During her stay in Palestine, 
she was led from place to place, unable to see, but interiorly filled with 
extraordinary devotion, so that although not being able visibly to behold 
what she had so long pictured to herself, she Jelt^ as it were, the effect of 
the wondrous sanctity of each sacred shrine in a way not comprehended 
by ordinary visitors. In the course of the return voyage, Angela and the 
pilgrims, including Monsignor Paola della Puglea, one of the Pope’s 
chamberlains, visited a Church at Canea, in the island of Candia, containing 
a miraculous crucifix. Angela and the company prayed fervently there 
that sight might be restored to her, if such was God’s will, when, to the 
amazement of all, she cried out that she could see! This wonderful cure 
took place on 4th October, 1^24, a few weeks before the party landed at 
Venice. After reaching the city-queen of the Adriatic, Angela was offered 
by Prince Guistiniani and the Senators of the Doge, the post of general 
-superintendent of several charitable institutions in the city, but she 
declined the offer, convinced that her mission was to found an institute 
of religious women devoted to the education of girls. So uppermost did 
this conviction become, that, next year, she Journeyed to Rome to lay her 
intention before the Pope. Clement VII, who had already heard of her 
eminent holiness and many spiritual favours from Monsignor della Puglea 
and others, received her with marks of great distinction and was even 
anxious that she should stay in Rome and pursue her good works there, 
but Angela assured the Pontiff that her mission, lay elsewhere. The Holy 
Father dismissed her with his blessing and words of encouragement, and 
it is well that the future foundress of the Ursulines did not stay in Rome, 
for within two years took place the awful sack of the city by the Constable 
de Bourbon and his army, or rabble rather, of German Lutherans and 
Italian and Spanish renegades, when, for the space of nine months, blood- 
shed, licentiousness and pillage ran riot in the Capital of Christendom.^ 

^ Tie Constable de Bourbon was slain by a shot from an arquebus just as his rufSanly 
followers entered Rome. Benvenuto Cellini has claimed the honour of firing the shot in question, 



ST ANGELA MERICI 


May 31] 


259 


For nearly five years longer, the horrifying struggle between Charles V 
Francis continued. To it, and to it alone, must be ascribed most 
of the terrible moral and other evils which thirty years later called for the 
utmost efforts of St Charles Borromeo and the other apostolic leaders of the 
Counter-Reformation to remove. Until peace had been established and 
ratified by the Coronation of the Emperor by the Pope at Bologna, 1 530, 
it was useless to think of setting up a new religious order or institute, 
however useful or well conceived. Meanwhile, Angela had not been 
idle. She had gathered around her a band of twelve maidens all actuated 
like herself by the idea of the systematic religious education of the 
rising generation as the best, nay, only hope of preserving, amidst the 
demoralization caused by the Franco-German-ltalian conflict, that ideal 
of Christian family life without which the advent of paganism is never 
very far off.^ 

The names of “ the first twelve maidens ” of the future Ursuline 
Order were; Simona Borni, Catherine and Dominica Dolce, Dorosilla 
Zinelli, Pelligrina Casali, Clara Gaffuri, Paula and Laura Peschieri, Barbara 
Fontana, Clara Martinengo, Margaret dell ’Olmo and Maria Bartolletti. 
A pious widow of noble rank, Elizabeth Prato, gave the community a hall 
in one of her houses in the Plaza del Duomo of Brescia, for the training of 
their rapidly growing numbers in piety and the works of education and 
charity. The sisterhood attended the Church of St Afra, a building full 
of the relics of the martyrs and rich in memories of devotion and self- 
sacrifice. Finally, on 25th November, 1535, the Feast of St Catharine, 
the Virgin-Philosopher and Martyr of Alexandria, the solemn canonical 
institution of the company of St Ursula took place in the Oratory of the 
Plaza del Duomo, “ in the presence of the proper authorities and their 
invited friends.” The chief of these “ proper authorities ” was, of course, 
Cardinal Cornaro, Bishop of Brescia. Twenty-eight took the vows by 
which they bound themselves to the Company and to each other. The 
new institute was called by the Foundress “ the Company of St Ursula,” 
because ever since her martyrdom and that of her maiden band by the 
Huns at Cologne (a.d. 383 ?), the famous British Princess, St Ursula, has 


a casualt7 wMch reall7 proved to be a great calamit7 to the Romans, since it removed the only 
man who was capable of restraining the dreadful horde of international villains whose outrages 
and orgies were to “ stagger humanity ! ” 

t This idea of solid reh’gious education as a cure for social ills, was also that of Henry VI, 
when founding Eton College—** The College of the Blessed Mary of Eton beside Windsor, 
1440. The holy King intended the place to become a nursery of saintly prelates, wise statesmen 
and worthy men of the world, whose influence would gradually save this country from the menace 
of the fierce feudal aristocracy whose only method of solving poh’tical problems was by the sword. 
The terrible Wars of The Roses, which commenced fifteen years later, show how well grounded 
were the fears of the pious King ! 



ST ANGELA MERICI 


260 


[May 31 


been generally regarded as the ideal type of Christian virginity J St Ursula 
was early chosen by the authorities of the Sorbonne as the protectress of 
professors and students, and the cultus of the holy Martyr was, or rather 
is, widespread over Germany, France, and the north of Italy 
. The “ Company of St Ursula ” was, of course, not “ an Order ” in 
the ecclesiastical sense. That distinction was not to come till 1612. The 
members were not even enclosed, nor bound by the vow of chastity. It 
was simply a pious sisterhood of devout women living in the world, who 
bound tiemselves to sanctify their own lives, instruct young girls, and 
nurse the sick. The members were to hear Mass daily, communicate 
every Friday, and on the last Sunday of the month to assemble in the 
Oratory to hear the Rule read. A plain dress of dark material, with a cloak 
for rainy weather, was adopted, though the present habit, which is black 
and similar to that of most other Nuns, but distinguished by a leathern 
girdle, was not introduced till much later. 

From the first the Ursulines increased rapidly. St Charles established 
them at Milan in 1568. In France — ^where the Society had been intro- 
duced since 1594 — ^the Institute was raised to the status of an Order, 
strictly enclosed and under solemn vows, through the exertions of the 
pious Madame de St Beuve, who obtained a Bull from Paul V for that 
purpose. A branch of the French Order was settled in Canada, 1 639, when 
the first Convent was built at Quebec. The body of the heroic Marquis 
de Montcalm, the opponent of the British hero. General Wolfe (i 759 )> 
buried in the Chapel. The Irish Ursuline Convent was established at 
Cork by the famous Miss Nano Nagle, a kinswoman of the illustrious 
Edmund Burke, 1771, and in addition to the very many houses of St 
Angela’s holy Foundation, to be found in every part of the world, there 
are some fifteen convents of the same in the United Kingdom, all success- 
fully engaged in the principal work designed by the holy Foundress — 
the education of girls. 

Pope Paul III in 1 544, confirmed the “ Company of St Ursula ” as 
instituted by Angela, but by that time the holy Foundress had passed to 
her eternal reward. As early as 1532, she. had chosen the place of her 
burial in the Church of St Afra, and when seized with what was to be 
her last illness she assured her sorrowing sisters and friends that her end 
was at hand. Having received the last rites with extraordinary devotion, 
and given her final instructions to the Community, she caused herself to 
be clothed in the habit of the Third Order of St Francis, and in that 

^ The exact date of St Ursula’s martyrdom is unknown. The years stated vary from 
A.i>. 238 to 45 ^* The date assigned in the "text, 3^3, is the one generally given in most 
accounts of the Smnt. 

* In 1490, a female orphanage was opened at Venice under the patronage of St Ursula. 



ST GABRIEL POSSENTI 


May 31] 


261 


venerated garb she calmly expired at about six o’clock on Tuesday, 27th 
January , 1 5^40. A marble sepulchre, probably the work of Moretto and 
his pupils, long enshrined the sacred remains of Angela Merici, in the 
crypt of St Afra’s, until I 777 > 'when another and more beautiful tomb 
of marble and gilt bronze received the body of the holy Foundress. The 
conspicuous virtues and many miracles of this wonderful woman having 
been carefully investigated over a period of many years, Pope Clement XIII, 
on 30th April, 1768, decreed her Beatification. In adecree, dated i6th July, 
1777, Pope Pius VI declared the virtues practised by the Beata to have 
been " heroic each in its kind.” Finally, on 24th May, 1 807, Pius VII, 
accorded her the supreme honours of Canonization, together with St 
Coletta, the reformer of the French Poor Clares, St Hyacinth Mariscotti of 
Viterbo, St Francis Caracciolo (ti6o3), and St Benedict of San Philadelphio, 
“ the light of Sicily ” (tx5'89). Apart from her work for the Catholic world 
at large, St Angela must be regarded as one of the eminent preservers of 
the Faith in the North of Italy. In the year of her death, 1540, it was 
estimated that at least half the town of Brescia was Lutheran or Calvinist, 
and that of the other half many were disposed to heresy ! The insane Franco- 
Imperialist wars already mentioned, had not only undermined religion and 
morals, but had introduced into the country great numbers of " reformers ” 
from Germany and Switzerland, whose emissaries — often disguised as priests 
and friars — ^were busy assailing the religion of the simple and ignorant. 
The schools of the Ursulines did their share in strengthening and extending 
Catholicism and in safeguarding the homeland of the Church from that 
welter of heretical confusion which not only largely originated, but which 
so powerfully aids that unlovely thing — “ modern unbeliefl” 

[S/ Angela Merici and the Ursulines.^ by the Rev. Bernard O’Reilly 
(London; Burns & Oates, 1880), is a very full biography, 
but its usefulness is somewhat impaired by its extreme dis- 
, cursiveness*, A detailed Lije in Italian, by the Abate Salvatori, 

■ appeared at Rome, 1 807, the year of the Canonization.] 


MAY 31 

POSSENTI, ST GABRIEL (ST GABRIEL OF OUR LADY OF 
SORROWS), PASSIONIST 
(1838-1862) 

There appears to be a very general impression abroad that the Saints of 
God are from their birth a sort of race apart, a set of beings of different 
mould from the rest of men and, therefore, capable of efforts and ideals 
quite beyond the reach of the common herdl No doubt, the phrase, 



262 


ST GABRIEL POSSENTI 


[May 3 1 

“ a cunahtdis sanctus ” — holy from his cradle, to be read here and there 
in the lives of Saints commemorated in the Breviary, lends some colour to 
this popular notion, but it may be said here that such a conception of the 
nature of a Saint is entirely incorrect. The greatest Saints were all flesh- 
and-blood mortals like ourselves. Many of them, in fact, had surroundings 
and conditions differing in nowise essentially from those of most people 
of to-day, and numbers, too, of the Saints were not only, at one time, 
“ full of faults and imperfections ” — as many humble old penitents tell 
their Father Confessors month by month — but were long literally wedded 
to the world, and, even for years before the great change in their lives, 
saturated with sin ! 

Among the many names of those now honoured by the Church, who 
were once very much of the world, though happily not greatly besmirched 
by it, was Gabriel Possenti, who, in a short life of less than twenty-four 
years, filled up a full measure of marvellous sanctity. He was one of 
several children of Signor Sante Possenti and Agnes Frisciotti, his wife, 
and was born at Assisi, ist March, 1838. He was baptized the same 
day and at the very font where the great Founder of the Seraphic Order 
had been made a child of the Church six centuries before. The name 
Francis was a further link with the historic Saint of the place. The father 
of the young Possenti was in the Government service of the Holy See, 
and had for many years been prefect of various cities in the Papal States. 
When Francis was about four years old. Signor Possenti, asked for a less 
arduous position that he might be able to devote his time more to the 
affairs of his own family. Pope Gregory XVI granted this request, and 
appointed the faithful official, Assessor of Spoleto. Not long after moving 
to that city, Signor Possenti had the misfortune to lose his excellent wife. 
To supply her place — as far as such a place can be supplied — the ex- 
gbvernor placed an. elderly lady over his household as housekeeper and 
governess. Signor Possenti himself lost no opportunity of setting an 
example of rare virtue to his family, and among the excellent customs of 
the house was the now, alas! almost extinct practice of family prayers 
daily. This included the rosary, and from this latter consoling devotion 
the young Francis Possenti no doubt acquired much of his tender affection 
to the Holy Mother of God. Among the other “ good deeds ” inculcated 
on his children by the devout Assessor of Spoleto, was that of kindness 
to the poor. “ Papa wishes us to be good to the poor,” little Francis 
would often say, adding with precocious anticipation, “ who knows what 
may happen to ourselves some day ! ” He would often give away dainties 
intended for himself, and in other ways practised the virtue of mortification 
and active charity. But apart from this and the usual observance of the 
ordinary religious duties and practices of piety, the young Possenti un- 



May 31] ST GABRIEL POSSENTI 263 

doubtedly had his “ faults and imperfections ! ” Gusts of violent passion, 
fits of insubordination, and a jarring habit of severely criticizing the short- 
comings of others, were serious defects that certainly did not give promise 
either of religious vocation or future sanctity. Yet these “ storms ” were 
always followed by great remorse and perfervid promises of amendment. 

The early education of Francis was received at the schools of the 
Christian Brothers at Spoleto, after which he entered the Jesuit College in 
the same town. He proved to be a brilliant student, and each year his 
name figured high among the prize awards and on the pass-lists at the 
examinations. His graceful appearance and winning manners made him 
very popular both with the professors and his fellow-students, but as he 
advanced in his teens, he manifested an over-keen relish for fashionable 
attire and the diversions of society life. He dressed not merely in the 
latest mode, but sometimes even, as people say, a little beyond it — ^used 
habitually a quantity of scent and parted his hair “ with meticulous care! ” 
Count d’Orsay, “ the last of the dandies ! ” had probably been dead a year or 
two before his latest and unknown disciple began to pose as a local arbiter 
elegantiarum^ but the spirit of the illustrious artist and man of fashion 
was faithfully reproduced in his young imitator. Drawing-room parties, 
theatricals, society gossip, and above all dancing, were now as serious 
objects in life to Francis as the classical and philosophy course at the Jesuit 
College, and, in fact, the last of these diversions — that devoted to Ter- 
psichore — became “ a perfect mania ” with him. He was nick-named 
“ II balerino ” — the dancer — in addition to his other sobriquet, “ II 
damerino ” — the dandy! Yet he was not guilty of any great fault, and, 
wonderful to say, his practices of devotion were not relaxed. The rosary 
was said daily as before, and the Fieta at home still had its constant tribute 
of flowers from “ the swell ” of Spoleto ! Perhaps all during this critical 
time, such heavenly patrons as St Francis of Sales — who in his youth had 
also worn fine clothes and even showed himself a past-master of the sword 
— as some of the bravoes of Paris once found to their cost ! — and St 
Augustine of Hippo, who always ate by preference with a silver spoon, 
were praying for the young exquisite, but, at any rate, when in his 
eighteenth year, illness and bereavement — ^much as in the case of John 
Henry Newman — began to bring Francis Possenti to his senses ! The 
first sickness carried the young society butterfly to death’s door ! Though 
he had done nothing specially reprehensible, the valley of the shadow made 
him promise an amendment of life even to the embracing of a cloistered 
one in a religious institute. He recovered and broke his resolution ! An- 
other illness in which, as he believed, health was restored through the 
intercession of Blessed Andrew Bobola, accompanied by similar resolutions, 
also passed without any of these promises being fulfilled. The death 


ST GABRIEL POSSENTl 


264 


[May 3 1 


of a favoxirite sister, Mary, in June, 1855, was the last and painfully 
dramatic reminder of the transience of human things. Meanwhile, Francis 
seems to have added to his society ambitions those of the hunting-field. 
He became an excellent, nay a daring, rider, and in taking a dangerous 
fence on one occasion, was badly thrown, thereby sustaining severe 
injuries. Another time, when out with the guns, his own fowling-piece 
went off by accident and nearly killed him on the spot ! These repeated 
warnings, and his own broken promises, began to make a deep impression 
on Francis. He wisely took his excellent father into his confidence, but, 
naturally. Signor Possenti did not receive these communications at all 
seriously, coming as they did from a “ dear boy,” who up to now 
had shown such a decided preference for the light themes of Horace 
rather than the reverend philosophy of Virgil ! So he met the austere 
suggestions anent the cowl, by proposing to his son as an alternative an 
advantageous marriage with a “ charming girl ” of good family, and so 
for the time the “ world ” again triumphed, and Francis pursued once 
more his society course. 

There had long been celebrated at Spoleto a remarkable Icon of Our 
Lady, presented, it is said, to the city about the middle of the twelfth century 
by Frederick Barbarossa. If so, this gift must have been made before 1 1 55, 
for, in the year named, the terrible “ Red-beard ” Emperor destroyed the 
place for seizing his ambassador and sending him as prisoner to Apulia. 
Be this as it may, the procession is (or was) a great local festival and day 
of devotion. Among those who took part in it, on 22nd August, 1856, 
was Francis. As the venerable representation of the Holy Mother of 
God was being borne past him, he seemed to hear the words : “ Francis, it is 
useless to resist I Thou art not made for the world 1 Come! Religion 
awaits thee! ” Instantly came, at least interiorly, the reply: “ Mother 
mine, thou hast conquered! I leave myself in thy most holy hands ! ” 

Two weeks yet remained before the end of the term which was to be 
Francis’s last at school prior to entering upon his career, religious or 
otherwise. He had done well at the examinations, as usual, and could 
contemplate the “ speech-day,” vnth its official and society visitors with 
perfect equanimity. In fact, as heretofore, the scholastic honours were 
largely his, but none of the high personages present at the function, besides 
his father, suspected that the splendidly dressed, highly favoured, and 
radiant-looking youth who carried off so many prizes for philosophy, 
classics, etc., was actually then wearing beneath his fine apparel a rough 
hair-shirt, or that he was on the eve of “ leaving all things ” to serve God 
more perfectly in the solitude of the cloister. 

Next day— the morrow of that greatest of all triumphs, a school 
triumph — saw Francis on the way to the Passionist Novitiate at Morrovale 



May3i] ^ ST GABRIEL POSSENTI 265 

in the Marches of Ancona. He broke his journey to visit several relatives 
whose remonstrances and even ridicule he met with good-humoured firm- 
ness, and the assurance that all they had to say about the step he was 
taking, had already been weighed by him in the balance and — ^found 
wanting! 

It was on Sunday, aist September, 1856, that Francis Possenti was 
clothed with the habit of the Passionist Congregation, taking on this 
occasion the name of Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows. With his entrance 
into the holy Foundation of St Paul of the Cross, Brother Gabriel cast 
away for ever the things of the world, and embraced in all its severity 
the life of fervour and penance that was to raise him to such heights of 
sanctity. Shortly after his reception, he wrote to his father: “ I would not 
exchange a quarter of an hour at the feet of Our Lady of Compassion, 
most Holy Mary, for a year or for endless years among the pleasures and 
pageants of the world ! ” He never verbally alluded to the glittering trivi- 
alities that had once afforded him so much satisfaction, but in several of 
his letters to his father and friends, he bewailed the precious hours wasted 
on pastimes and occupations which now seemed as so much dross 1 

Ordinary persons are generally bewildered by the subject of “ Morti- 
fication,” and often ask, in a sort of impatient surprise, the meaning of 
it alll Are not the rational pleasures of life, its normal gaieties and 
amusements perfectly lawful, they say, then why condemn such pursuits, 
or at least why regard them as things to be avoided ? The answer is that 
such diversions are not in the least condemned. In fact, they are not only 
lawful, but they are even to be highly recommended within their sphere. 
The Catholic Church which abhors gloom as not one of the least enemies 
of the soul, would have her children be always glad. “ Gaudete in Domino 
semper: iferum dico gaudete,” she eternally voices with St Paul, and so all 
reasonable games, sports and amusements are part of her repertory of 
desirable natural happiness. But being the mystical body of Christ, she 
bears ever on her and before her, the wounds of the Crucified, and she never 
lets any of her children forget that they are ransomed at a great price I 
Hence, none of her members can forego to give up the Cross. Willingly 
or unwillingly, this burden — -joyous or wearisome, according as we make 
it — ^must be borne. Heroic and generous souls, not to be outdone 
in this following of Our Lord — this taking up of the Cross — seek, like 
St Paul, to crucify their bodies with the further severities of mortification, 
not merely for their own sins and imperfections, but as an act of vicarious 
suffering, to draw down God’s mercy on sinners, just as the fasting and 
prayers of Moses for forty days, obtained pardon for the idolatrous people 
of Israel.! 


t Exodus mir. z8. 


266 


ST GABRIEL POSSENTI 


[May 3 1 

From the first, Brother Gabriel was diligent in the pursuit of personal 
austerity, but if, like the great Doctor of the Gentiles, he chastised his body 
and brought it into subjection, his austerities were carefully mitigated by 
his Superiors. Being naturally very delicate, he was forbidden to wear a 
hair-shirt, pointed chains, or any of the traditional instruments of penance. 
“ Wear the hair-shirt by all means,” he was once told, half in jest and half in 
earnest, “ but wear it outside your habit, so that we may all see what a holy 
man you are! ” 

Besides his love of suffering for Christ’s sake. Brother Gabriel was 
at all times, “ instant in prayer.” All occasions not given to duty, recrea- 
tion or other obligations, were “ ever towards the Lord ” (Cani. iv. 6), so 
that his life seemed to be one long act of supplication to God. 

About the beginning of 1858, Brother Gabriel was sent to Pievetorina 
to do a further year’s study of philosophy as preparatory to beginning his 
divinity course at Isola. While reading theology, he adopted the plan 
suggested long before by another holy Passionist, the Venerable Vincent 
Strambi, as an aid to study, i.e., imagining one’s self surrounded by a 
crowd of persons hungering for the Holy Eucharist and the other truths 
and ordinances of the Gospel! 

He made rapid progress in his treatises and on 25th May was admitted 
to the tonsure. He would have received the various orders up to that 
of the diaconate within a year afterwards, had not the Garibaldian 
revolutionary movements at this time made the holding of ordinations 
very difficult. 

The health of Brother Gabriel, as before remarked, had never been 
very robust, but from this time a marked change for the worse set in, and 
by September, 1861, it was evident that consumption was already far 
advanced. All the great traits that had so marked the last years of this 
short but wonderfully holy life, were now intensified — the marvellous 
spirit of prayer, of devotion to Our Lady, of love of the Cross, and all 
that that love implies. As with the last bright flicker of a lamp before its 
extinction, the closing days of Brother Gabriel’s career were illumined 
with the light of a wondrous example and of devotion intensified. He 
received the last rites of the Church, i8th February, 1862, and nine days 
later — days filled with passing shadows and temptations, but relieved also 
by celestial consolations — ^he passed from the vale of shades and shadows ' 
to his true and eternal home. The body of Brother Gabriel was interred 
in the cemetery of the Monastery at Isola, which in 1862 became a 
barracks for some of the regiments of “ United Italy.” Meanwhile, the 
fame of the holy young Passionist spread far and wide, and the place of his 
sepulture became a noted and constant centre of pilgrimage. His reputa- 
tion as a marvellous intercessor and wonder-worker went throughout the 



June i] BLESSED JOHN STOREY 267 

Catholic world, and ere long, the report of miracle after miracle wrought 
through his intercession, corroborated the general belief in his sanctity. 
At length, in response to a general petition signed by many Cardinals, 
Archbishops, Bishops and Superiors-General, Leo XIII, on 7th July, 
1896, signed the decree for his cause to be introduced. The decree of 
Urban VIII ordering fifty years to elapse between death and Beatification 
was dispensed by Pope Leo’s successor, Pius X, and the decree beatifying 
the Blessed Gabriel was officially published on 31st May, 1908. Among 
the vast crowds present at St Peter’s on this impressive occasion was one 
of the Blessed Gabriel’s own brothers, Michael, also F. Norbert, C.P., 
once his confessor, and a Signor Dominico Tiberi, who had been 
miraculously cured through his intercession.^ Twelve years later, the 
crowning honour of Canonization was witnessed at St Peter’s on 13th 
May, 1920, and in the decree solemnly enrolling the Blessed Gabriel among 
the Saints, Pope Benedict XV declared the youthful, but already long 
famous light of the Passionate Congregation, the patron of youth and 
especially of young Religious throughout the world. That patronage will 
surely be always efficacious, if those who seek it try to imitate their holy 
example by a love of what he ever practised to such an eminent degree — 
the spirit of self-denial, prayer, and a tender devotion to Our Lord’s 
Most Blessed Mother. 

[.S’/ Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Passionist Student, by the Rev. 
Joseph Smith, C.P. (Catholic Truth Society of Ireland). A 
concise, but admirable, account. A Life of the Blessed Gabriele, 
by the Rev. Hyacinth Hage, C.P., was published in U.S.A., 
1899. Many of the details of St Gabriel’s later life are 
derived from the recollections of his college friend and com- 
panion, Bonaccia. These accounts were first published in 
1868, and they have since been reprinted several times.] 


JUNE I 

STOREY, JOHN THE BLESSED, MARTYR 
(1504-1571) 

Even if John Storey, D.C.L., Chancellor of the Dioceses of London and 
Oxford under Queen Mary I, had been the very sinister person described by 
Foxe, he would certainly have won the at least, negative praise of Macaulay, 
for he was — unlike Cranmer — quite prepared eventually to suffer himself 
what he had, according to the Protestant martyrologist, so otten caused 

* Signor Michael Possenti was also present at his brother’s Canonization. 



268 


BLESSED JOHN STOREl [June i 

others to endure. For the rest, Dr Storey rather seems to us to have been 
a man born out of due time. Two and a half centuries later he would have 
been in all probability one of the pillars of Doctors’ Commons, have edited 
most likely the Reports of that learned body, and died highly esteemed 
for worth and erudition as Dean of the Arches, etc. 

But the John Storey of history fell, indeed, on evil days. The son of 
Nicholas Storey and Joan his wife, he belonged to a good old Durham 
stock, one of the great northern families that fill the pages of Surtees. 
Going somewhat late to Oxford, that is, if he was actually born in 1 504, 
he studied at Hincksey Hall and there took his B.C.L. in May, I 53 ^> 
six years later became Principal of Broadgates Hall, long since developed 
into Pembroke College. Mr Storey soon became “ the most noted civilian 
and canonist of his time.” These civilians and canonists, of course, intended 
to practise as advocates in the Ecclesiastical Courts attached at that time to 
every diocese, for apart from the Canon Law, all matters relating to wills and 
marriages were determined in these “ Courts Christian.” ^ The very year of 
the schism of the nation from the Apostolic See (1534), Henry, as part of his 
anti-church policy, abolished the Canon Law lectures at both Universities, 
but as some kind of compensation, established in 1537 the Regius Pro- 
fessorship of Civil Law at Oxford, and Mr Storey was appointed the first 
Lecturer. He resigned this post in 1539, when he was admitted as 
Advocate at Doctors’ Commons. During the siege of Boulogne, 1 544 — 
that short-lived act of hostility against Francis I, which gave rise to the 
humorous name of the ” Bull and Mouth ” Inn, London, Dr Storey — 
a D.C.L. since 1538 — served with the English Army in France as Judge 
Advocate-General, and to such satisfaction, that he was confirmed in his 
office of Regius Professor of Law at O^Tord for life. Up to this time 
Storey had gone with the tide, taking the Oath of Supremacy and showing 
himself in everything the King’s man. But the accession of the boy- 

^ Tie sole Advocates in tie Ecclesiastical Courts were those who had taken the degree of 
Doctor of Laws in either Universit7, and been dulj admitted to the Bar of these Courts bj Fial 
of the Archbishop of Canterbury, after a year of “ silence ” on the part of the candidates, during 
which time they were supposed to acquaint themselves with the routine of their profession. 
Doctors wore scarlet robes when in Court, those of Oxford being lined with taffeqr- The Cam- 
bridge gowns were set off with wlute minever. Caps of black vdvet completed the official dress. 
In 1 568, Dr Henry Harvey, Dean of the Arches, purchased a general meeting-house for the Advo- 
cates which, after the Great Fire, was rebuilt on the present site. The Society was incorporated, 
1768. After the passing of the Probate, Divorce and Admiralty Act, 1857, nearly all the ecclesiasti- 
cal htigadon vras transferred to the new division, whereupon the Doctors surrendered their Charter 
of Incorporation to the Crown, and were admitted to the General Bar by Statute,as if they had been 
regularly “ called ” at one of the Inns of Court. Besides the Advocates, the Ecclesiastical Courts 
had their Proctors or Soh'citon. These were admitted after seven years of apprenticeship under 
articles to one of the thirty-four Senior Proaon. The application-form for admission had to be 
signed by three Advocates and three Proctors, whereupon the Archbishop issued his Flat to the 
Dean of Arches to admit the applicant. When in Court, the Proctors wore black gowns. 



June i] BLESSED JOHN STOREY 269 

King, Edward VI, and the rapid exchange of the “ Catholic " policy of 
Henry VIII for the open and uncompromising Protestantism of Cranmer, 
I^srtford and the rest, seems to have opened the eyes of the great civilian, 
as it undoubtedly did those of Gardiner. Besides, the " pure Gospel ” 
— as the fanatical, but by no means disinterested, Lords and Members of 
Parliament termed the Zwinglian-Calvinistic doctrines now imported 
wholesale from Germany and Switzerland — stood for much more than 
intense enmity to Rome. The abbeys and priories were, indeed, gone, 
but there were still splendid “ pickings ” in the shape of Church plate and 
ornaments, richly adorned tombs, and the like; also endowments for the 
support of services and churches. Longing eyes were cast upon all these 
things by the parliamentary “ reformers,” and hence the feverish haste 
to Protestantize the realm by bringing in foreign sectaries — John k Lasco, 
Peter Martyr, John of Ulm, Ochino, and in the wake of these more or less 
historic names, a perfect swarm of sectaries, many of them of the worst 
description. When the First Book of Common Prayer was introduced 
(1549), Storey, now Member for Hendon, Wilts, spoke against it with a 
vigour that had. not been heard in the English Divan for nearly a century 1 
The burden of this bold discouse was: “ Woe to the land, whose King is 
a child ! ” {Eccles. x. 1 6), and, of course, its speaker was committed to prison, 
so completely had the Commons forgotten in that age of Oriental despotism 
in Britain their own fundamental right to “freedom of speech 1 He 
made his submission after months of imprisonment, after which he is re- 
ported to have gone to the (West ?) country and spent much time there 
in exhorting the people to resist further ecclesiastical “ reformation,” which 
all honest men now knew only meant robbery of the basest kind for the 
benefit of the greedy courtiers and their parasites who rioted on the spoils 
of the Church. To save himself from further penalties for this patriotic 
act. Storey retired to Flanders. At Louvain, where he formed one of a 
large band of English exiles for religion, he spent much time with the 
Carthusian Fathers, joining in their devotions and identifying himself 
as far as he could with their severe mode of life. That he did not enter 
the Order was, of course, owing to the fact that he was by this time 
married, and had a young wife and family in England. At the accession 
of Queen Mary, Storey returned home. His Professorship was restored 
and his known learning in the Civil and Canon Law led to his promotion 
to the Chancellorship of the Dioceses of London and Oxford. The bishops, 
as is now generally known, did not advise the re-enactment of the de Hacre- 
tico comburendo Statute (2 Hen. IV, c. 15), which was so soon to light the 
fires- of the Marian Persecution all over the south and east of England. 

* As recently as 1512, the famous Strode’s Act, (4 Hen. VIII, c. 8) declared all prcxreedings 
for words spoken in Parliament, voU. 



270 


BLESSED JOHN STOREY [June i 

That fatal measure was the work of the Privy Council largely made up of 
laymend It is well known too that Cranmer in the last year of Edward’s 
reign was preparing a Bill to consign Catholics to the flames, and no doubt 
the revived Act was by way of retaliation. It was also largely pushed 
forward by the conduct of the ultra-protestant party in London. 
For not only were the Catholic doctrines and rites openly derided and 
denounced by the dissentient ministers and congregations, but the clergy 
and parish churches were in many cases attacked by parties of armed 
brawlers. Such demonstrations against the party in power would be 
dangerous even in these indifferent days, but amidst the hard, uncom- 
promising belief of Tudor England, they spelt, as a rule, destruction 
for all concerned. 

As Diocesan Chancellor, Storey was called upon to play a leading part 
in the unhappy heresy prosecutions, and he soon became as odious to the 
“ Godly ” of Mary’s reign, as did Sir George Mackenzie — “ the bloudie 
Advocate ” — ^more than a century later to the “ Saints ” of the Scottish 
Covenant. But if it fell to his lot to assist in administering the law as 
it stood, he certainly did his best to mitigate its infliction. With Abbot 
Feckenham of Westminster, he once successfully begged off twenty-eight 
poor people condemned to the stake, and on another occasion advised the 
punishment of the few instead of the many. He no doubt recognized 
that those who so heroically faced the flames for the multifarious doctrinal 
confusion vaguely known as “ the Principles of the Reformation,” were, 
after all, the honest, if misguided, section which had gained no material 
advantage from the late changes in religion. Such persons, therefore, 
stood in very favourable contrast to the selfish, cynical horde of titled 
place-hunters who, having grasped riches, rank and retinue as the price of 
apostasy under Henry and Edward, were now going to Mass, and even 
applauding the repressive measures of the Court! This appears all the 
more plain when we consider Storey’s conduct at the accession of Elizabeth. 
As member for Downton, he resolutely spoke against the Supremacy 
Bill, and deplored not having caused the late prosecutions for heresy to 
be directed rather against the great and powerful than the mere rank and 
file — the " great branches,” not “ the little twigs and shoots.” In May, 

1 560, he was in the Fleet Prison, where very high charges were demanded 
for the ordinary decencies of life — ^beds being let at ,^1 a week or in 
present currency. He is said to have escaped, for about 1562 he was 
ag^ seized in the west of England and committed to the Marshalsea. 
He again got away by scaling a wall after the style of Jack Sheppard 
(c, 1724), and by means of assistance from the Chaplain of the Spanish 
Ambassador, De la Quadra, passed safely over to Louvain. Here he was 
» Reeves : HiJtory of English Lazo, vol. jii., p. 514, note. (F. W. FinlaTson’s edition.) 



June i] BLESSED JOHN STOREY 271 

joined later by his wife and family, and being without means, received a 
pension of a hundred florins from King Philip, who as the former King- 
Consort of Queen Mary, appointed Storey his agent in the distribution 
of various small grants allotted for the relief of the growing body of English 
Refugees in the Spanish Netherlands. 

King Philip had recently caused to be set up at Antwerp, a Commission 
for preventing the entrance of heretical books into the country. He gave 
the office of Searcher to one, William Parker, brother of Elizabeth’s Arch- 
bishop, and a pretended Convert to Catholicism. As a spy of Cecil’s, 
Parker entered into a plot to get Storey into the power of the Government 
at home, which had never forgiven the latter’s Catholic activities and 
speeches. It was arranged that Storey, who had been appointed Parker’s 
Assistant, should go on board a vessel belonging to a certain Cornelius 
Van Eyck, to search for alleged anti-catholic literature, which was accord- 
ingly done, whereupon Cecil’s agents on board, Ramsden, Bragge and 
Jewkes, seized their prey and the vessel sailed for Yarmouth. After 
confinement in the Lollards’ Tower — not • the famous prison-turret of 
Lambeth Palace, but another of the same name at the south side of St 
Paul’s — Storey was removed to the Tower, where he was barbarously 
racked to extort from him something that might serve for an indictment 
of treason, as clearly his previous acts could not even in those days be 
construed into such an offence. At last, his friendship abroad with the 
Norton family, lately so deeply implicated in the “ Rising of the North,” 
was held to amount to ” consorting with the Queen’s enemies,” and it 
sufficed for his trial at Westminster Hall, 26th May, 1571. He boldly 
refused to plead, declaring that he was a naturalized subject of the King 
of Spain, and as Abraham had ffed from Chaldea to avoid idolatry, so he 
like many others had abjured the realm to escape the heresy now being 
promulgated in the land. In a letter to his wife two days after the in- 
evitable sentence to the horrible death for treason had been passed, Storey 
defended his not having pleaded on the ground that had he done so, he 
would have acknowledged thereby the right of a Queen who lay under a 
sentence of excommunication, and that so far from fearing death, he re- 
joiced in it. It is not much to the credit of Philip that political considera- 
tions prevented him from making more than a feeble protest against this 
audacious kidnapping of a naturalized subject from one of his own ports. 
The phrase, “ Singeing the King of Spain’s beard ” had not then been 
invented, but the beard in question had been pretty badly singed all the 
same, and no doubt a really firm diplomatic note such as the one from 
Lord John Russell’s Cabinet, which nearer our own time effected the 
release of Messrs Slidell and Mason from the clutches of the Northern 
Government of the United States, would have made even the Burleigh- 



272 BLESSED MARIA ANNA DE PAREDES [June 2 

Walsingham ministry hand over their victim.^ But none was forthcoming, 
and on ist June, 1571, the Blessed John Storey was done to death at 
Tyburn under circumstances of barbarity which outdid even the inhuman 
modes of execution current in these days! The horrors of the dis- 
embowelling and quartering were purposely protracted and the slaughter 
of this old man of nearly seventy caused the utmost indignation on the 
Continent, and made people say that the island heretics were capable of 
any atrocity! 

He made a long, calm and fearless speech to the crowds assembled 
around the place of execution, repudiating all charges of treason with 
reference to the Queen, and reminded the spectators that during the late 
proceedings for heresy, he. Cardinal Pole, and Abbot Feckenham had 
saved nearly thirty persons from being burned, and that when a number 
of suspected heretics had been entrusted to his custody, he gave them the 
same entertainment as he and his family had. Finally, and he cited the 
entries in the official registers to prove this, he had succeeded in persuading 
the authorities of that day not to burn any more persons in London. He 
concluded by saying that as the Ark of Noah is the figure of Christ’s Church, 
so he had continued in the Ship of Christ of which the Apostle Peter is the 
Guide and Principal. 

The portrait of Dr Storey figured among the pictures of the English 
Martyrs which Gregory XIII caused to be painted for the English 
College, Rome, and his memory was greatly venerated throughout the 
Catholic world, notably at Louvain and in the Carthusian Order. He 
was beatified by Leo XIII, 29th December, 1886. 


JUNE 2 

MARIA ANNA DE PAREDES, THE BLESSED 

(1618-1645) 

The year after St Rose of Lima — the first Canonized Saint of the American 
Continent — closed her wonderful career of prayer and amazing mortifica- 
tions, a child was born in the city of Quito, Ecuador, who was to follow 

» On 8th November, i86i, the U.SJt. War Steamer Sa/f Jacir.to, held up on the high 
seas near Cuba, the British Mail Steamer Trent, and forcibly took prisoners Messrs SUdell and 
Mason, Commissioners for the Confederate States, who were on board. The Bussell Cabinet, 
through the British Ambassador at Washington, Lord Lyons, at once demanded the release of 
the Commissioners, and the Note embodying this had the full support of all the Great Povrers. 
Eventually President Lincoln and his Government admitted the justice of the British case, and 
the Commissioners were released, though not tiU vrar between ie two countries had become 
something more than a “ possibUity ! ” The peaceful end- of the crisis was greatly furthered by 
that able statesman, the Prince Consort, who caused the Note to Washington to be so drawn 
up as not to wotmd American susceptibilities. 



June 2] BLESSED MARIA ANNA DE PAREDES 273 

closely in the footsteps of her prototype. The father of Mary Anna de 
Paredes was Don Girolamo Flores de . Paredes, who had apparently 
emigrated to South America from Toledo. His wife, Donna Mariana 
Cranobles de Xaramilo, was also of high Spanish lineage. Such noble 
settlers or officials as these formed the governing class throughout South 
America during the whole of the rule of those vast dominions under 
the Kings of Spain, and perhaps the comparatively uneventful history 
of that widespread meridional Continent for nearly three centuries is 
the best commentary on a regime that seems to get little praise from 
historians. Certainly, peace and content, much trade, and freedom 
from political unrest, which so long prevailed from the Isthmus of 
Panama to Valparaiso, are to be preferred any day to revolutions of un- 
scrupulous political adventurers and their shibboleths enforced by those 
gentle persuasives, the dagger and revolver! When Mary de Paredes 
was born, Quito differed very little, if at all, from any of the towns in Old 
Spain. The social, political and religious atmosphere in which she grew 
up was that which had surrounded St Teresa. She was the child of 
election, and while other little girls were thinking of dolls, she was already 
bent on a life of mortification 1 She had an extraordinary devotion to Our 
Lady of the traditional Iberian type, and at the age of ten, made the three 
solemn vows of religious life — vows which she faithfully kept till her death. 
Just as St Teresa and her little brother wished to go and give their young 
lives for the Faith among the Moors, so, when the news arrived at Quito 
of the martyrdoms of the Christians in Japan, tragedies which were of 
frequent occurrence all during the childhood of Maria de Paredes, the 
youthful enthusiast made a determined if puerile effort to go and join those 
heroes and heroines who were renewing in the Japanese Empire the glorious 
constancy and stimulating example of the faithful in the days of the Cata- 
combs. Unable to carry out her project, she resolved to commence her 
life of bloodless martyrdom at home. Like St Rose she became with the 
consent of her parents an anchoress, constructing for herself a cell in her 
own garden, and practising there the austerities associated with the history 
of some of the most mortified of the early solitaries of Egypt. She wore 
a crown of thorns on her head, and a rough hair-shirt next to her skin. 
Several times both day and night she took tlie discipline, even to blood. 
The short time allotted to rest, if such it can be called, the holy recluse 
tormented her body by reposing on a pallet of thorns and nettles 1 No 
doubt, in all these frightful austerities, something national and tempera- 
mental enters — the same ardour is seen in the sanctity of Saints of southern 
extracfion as is witnessed at the other end in the violent excesses of 
political parties and individual enthusiasts generally, belonging to the 
same race. Then due regard must be had for the intensity of knowledge 
s 


274 


BLESSED MARIA ANNA DE PAREDES [June a 

of divine things existing in the minds of all holy persons. The mortifica- 
tions of St Paul, though he ■was the humblest of men, could lead him to 
exclaim: “With Christ I am nailed to the Cross! He had seen the 
vision, heard “ the secret words ” and been “ wrapped to the Seventh 
Heaven,” and of all men knew best the depths of meaning of the divine 
admonition: “ You are redeemed at a great price ! ” Joined to these mani- 
festations of self-immolation, Mary de Paredes added the further trial of 
fasting. An ounce of bread or less sufficed her for a week, but daily she 
nourished her soul with the most holy Sacrament of the Altar. She is 
one of the band of Saints for whom this divine food was enough both for 
time and eternity. Meantime, though a recluse, she thought constantly 
of souls and their spiritual welfare, and not only were her prayers offered 
continually for the conversion of sinners, but she personally influenced for 
good numbers of the wayward of both sexes who came to her for counsel 
on the only thing that really matters. She had received from God a marvell- 
ous insight into hearts, and over and above that, she had, like the Blessed 
Anna Maria Taigi, the gift of discerning secret things and of foretelling 
future events. At her word, numbers turned from their wanton lives, 
became reconciled to God and the Church, and set seriously about the 
all-important work of their eternal salvation. To the grace of interior 
perception was added the gift of working miracles. By the sign of the 
Cross or the sprinkling of holy water, she cured mortal diseases, and 
even on one occasion it is recorded raised a dead woman to life. These 
wonders continued until the day of her own death, 26th May, 1645, when 
God was pleased to mark the exalted holiness of this virgin thaumaturge 
by causing a pure lily to spring up from her blood — a prodigy which has 
given to Maria de Paredes the poetic title of the “ Lily of Quito.” 

A local culm began almost at once to this marvellous maid, who, 
though but twenty-seven at the time of her death, had in that short space 
fulfilled years of sanctity and left her country spiritually the richer for 
having lived in it. But it was not till nearly a century after her decease 
that active steps began to be taken to secure her Canonization. The 
document containing the written proofs of her heroic ■virtues and many 
miracles was sent to Rome in 1754, and this attestation, it may be remarked, 
was mainly the work of the zealous and diligent Mgr. Alfonso della 
Pegna, Bishop of Quito. Benedict XIV signed the Commission for intro- 
ducing the Cause, 17th December, 1757. Though Pius VI, before his 
exile, ordered the publication of the decree proving the heroic virtues 
of the “ Lily of Quito,” the subsequent confusion caused by the Revolu- 
tionary and Napoleonic Wars and the unsettled political state of Europe 
after the conclusion of these (1815), shelved apparently, the question till 
the accession of Pius IX. Then through the mediation of Father John 



June 4] ST FRANCIS CARACCIOLO 275 

P. Roothaan, the famous Genefal of the Jesuits, the matter was again 
brought prominently forward, and the cause of Beatification was pro- 
ceeded with. Finally, on loth November, 1853, Pius IX solemnly en- 
rolled Mary Anna de Paredes among the Beata of holy Church. As 
war and revolution had played their part in retarding this happy con- 
summation, so the plots and disorders in Ecuador which went on almost 
uninterruptedly from 1830 to 1869 in that unhappy country, appear to 
have again prevented steps being taken to ensure the Canonization of the 
wonderful Saint of Quito. But this glorious end has at length crowned the 
work. The long-dead Maiden of Quito was enrolled among the Saints by 
Pius XII on 9th July, 1950, an act which emphasized yet again that sanctity 
is immortal and that it shines like a resplendent sun over the vicissitudes of 
the world. The holy example and memory of St M. de Parades seem 
to have done much in the spiritual way for her country, and Ecuador 
still remains the most practically Catholic of the several States of South 
America. 

[Roman Breviary Summer Section gives a very good sketch of the 
Beata under June 2, supplement. Tablet^ Nov.-Dee. i85'3.J 


JUNE 4 

CARACCIOLO, ST FRANCIS, CONFESSOR 
( i 563?- i 6 o 8) 

St Francis Caracciolo as a boy was one of those children whom “ the 
world ” sets down as “ unnatural.” No doubt we ourselves also had we seen 
the little Ascanio, by which name he was baptized, eschewing games and 
“ the things of a child,” to make constant visits to the Blessed Sacrament 
and give food and other reliefs to the poor, would have thought it all very 
“ odd,” did we not reflect that the “ supernatural ” does strange things 
at times and manifests itself in old and young alike, regardless of what 
people may say or even do ! Ascanius, or as we must call him by his name 
in religion, Francis, Caracciolo, was born at Villa Santa Maria in that 
quarter of Italy known as the Abruzzi, the very name of which always 
recalls mental pictures of wild and lonely scenery and picturesque groups 
of Salvator Rosa-esque brigands ! The family of the Saint was noble, being 
a junior branch of the ancient house. While still a youth, he was attacked 
by one of the several skin complaints collectively described as “ leprosy ” 
in those days, but which in the case of the subject of this memoir wss 



ST FRANCIS CARACCIOLO 


276 


[June 4 


made the means of still further withdrawing him from things of earth and 
towards those of Heaven. He was cured in consequence, it is said, of a 
vow to devote his life to the service of God, and with this end in view he 
went, at the age of about twenty-two, to study for the priesthood at Naples. 
In the intervals of reading, he busied himself with works of devotion 
and charity, making long visits to the Blessed Sacrament, and consoling 
the inmates of hospitals and prisons. He had a special liking for neglected 
churches, seeking to make up by his attendance and prayers for the absence 
of worshippers in these uncared-for sanctuaries. After his Ordination 
in 1587, he joined a pious confraternity, known as the “The White 
Robes of Justice.” This Society, like that of the better-known Misericorde, 
attended condemned criminals and prepared them to die well. All this 
time, Francis seems to have had in mind the founding of a new religious 
Order, and next year the matter came to a head. It happened that the 
same idea had also occurred to another devout man, Giovanni Agostino 
Adorno, who unburdened his mind on the subject in a letter addressed 
to another member of the Caracciolo family, named Fabricius Ascanio. 
The letter was delivered by a very natural error to our Saint, who saw 
in the occurrence a clear indication of the divine will. Joining in at once 
with John Adorno and Fabricius Caracciolo, our Saint and they retired 
for a while to the desert of Camaldoli, where the holy trio drew up the Rule 
of what was to be the Minor Clerks Regular. Francis then went to Rome 
to obtain the approval of the Pope for the new Foundation. Sixtus V 
was at that time in the midst of his strenuous pontificate, clearing the 
Papal States of the swarms of brigands which had long made that part of 
Italy one of the most insecure places in Europe, and in beautifying Rome 
with those stately public buildings which still reflect the glory of the Sis- 
tine rule. The Holy Father with quite unwonted alacrity approved' the 
Congregation on ist July of the same year (i 588). 

The new Congregation of the Minor Clerks Regular thus established 
was one of considerable severity. The Clerks bound themselves to dis- 
tribute various practices of penance among themselves daily, so that while 
one fasted, another took the discipline, a third wore the hair-shirt and so 
on. The rest not so engaged were meanwhile watching in turn before the 
Blessed Sacrament. In addition to the three usual vows, a fourth was 
added — not to aspire after dignities {de non ambiendis dignilaltbus). 

At his solemn profession at Naples, 9th April, 1589, Fr. Caracciolo 
took the name of Francis, from his great devotion to the holy Founder of 
the Seraphic Order. Fr. Adorno dying two years later, Fr. Francis, entirely 
against his own wish, was chosen Superior of the Congregation. He 
showed himself a model in all that related to the Rule, but quite surpassed 
all his brethren in the matter ot prayer and austerity. He meditated 



June 4] ST FRANCIS CARACCIOLO 277 

sev'eral hours daily on the sufferings of Our Lord, and spent most of the 
night before the Blessed Sacrament. This he did, among other reasons, 
to make up as far as he could for the coldness and ingratitude of men, and 
often, too, the culpable negligence of indifferent ecclesiastics which' so 
frequently caused the churches to be practically abandoned day after 
day. W^hen kneeling before the altar, the face of Fr, Francis appeared 
to be lighted up with celestial glory, while he ejaculated from time to time 
a favourite sentence from the Scripture: “ the zeal of Thy house hath eaten 
me up!” (Ps. Ixviii. 10.) 

The first house of the Clerks was one at Naples, known as St Maty 
Major’s, which had been made over to them by Sixtus V, but the ex- 
pansion of the Congregation soon made it imperative to found others 
elsewhere. Spain early extended its welcome to the newest arrivals in 
the monastic held, and St Francis undertook no fewer than three 
journeys to that most Catholic country under the special protection first of 
Philip II and afterwards of his son, Philip III. On one of these voyages, 
the ship that bore the holy Founder and his fortunes was nearly wrecked, but 
the vessel was saved by the prayer of our Saint. Of course, there was 
the opposition of the good to be met and overcome, but the spiritual 
methods and perseverance of Francis were rewarded by the establish- 
ment of three branches — the House of the Holy Ghost at Madrid 
(20th January, 1599), that of Our Lady of the Annunciation at Valla, 
closed (9th September, 1601), and St Joseph at Alcala (1601). This last 
was opened in the University for the purpose of study and the requirements 
of the usual academic courses, and many of the aspirants to the Order in 
Spain spent some years there as part of their preparation for Holy Orders. 
Before this the Clerks obtained in Rome the Church of St Leonard after- 
wards exchanged for that of St Agnes in the Piazza Navona, the famous 
Church built on the traditional site of the martyrdom of St Agnes. It 
was entirely rebuilt in 1642, at the expense of the Pamfili family, and 
among the many monuments of artistic or historic interest is the tomb 
of the Princess Mary Talbot Doria-Pamfili, who died 1857. She was 
the beautiful daughter of the Sixteenth Earl of Shrewsbury, and one of 
the Maids of Honour to Queen Victoria at her Coronation in 1838. 

In spite of the general knowledge as to the “ fourth vow ” of the Con- 
gregation against accepting or even seeking ecclesiastical honours, many 
desired to see the Founder exalted to what they considered a wider field 
of usefulness, and Pope Paul V, who greatly admired the heroic virtues 
and practical wisdom of Francis, wished to make him a bishop, but desisted 
at the earnest entreaty of the Saint. Besides his work for the Congregation, 
Francis unceasingly interested himself in the salvation of souls gener- 
ally. He was much sought after as a confessor while his exhortations 



THOMAS WOODHOUSE 


278 


[June 13 


brought to repentance numerous public sinners, and he fortified the 
wavering and the despondent by personal encouragement and the re- 
commendation of the two great Catholic devotions, those to the Blessed 
Sacrament and to Our Lady. He had the gift of discerning hearts and of 
prophecy, and his own approaching death was made known to him one 
day, when, according to custom, he was praying before the altar of the 
Church of St Lauretana. He was at that time in negotiation with the Ora- 
torian Fathers with reference to taking over their house at Agnone in the 
Abruzzi for the use of his Congregation, and he lost no time in going 
to that place. Arrived there, he was shortly after seized with fever, and 
having received all the last rites, he died surrounded by the Oratorian 
Community of the place on the Vigil of Corpus Christi, 4th June, 1608. 
His body was removed to the Church of St Mary Major, Naples, where 
it remained till it was transferred to the Church of Montivergonella which 
had been made over to the Clerks Regular, 1823, apparently in exchange 
for the other seized during the occupation of Naples by the French Re- 
volutionary Army. 

The Saint was proclaimed patron of the City of Naples in 1838, but 
the devotion to him which was once so marked a feature of the spiritual 
life of the place is said now to be much less in evidence. In addition to 
the Rule which he drew up in conjunction with his two holy coadjutors, 
St Francis Caracciolo also left a devotional treatise on the Passion, this 
work, apart from the inherent value of the subject, is precious as con- 
taining the holy reflections and aspirations of one of the outstanding 
notabilities of the Church in the last period of the Counter-Reformation 
— the lover of souls — ^who did so much to heal by his zeal and piety 
the wounds which heresy and iniquity had inflicted upon the Mystical 
Body of the Lord. 


JUNE 13 

WOODHOUSE, THE BLESSED THOMAS, MARTYR 

( ?-i573) 

No date is assigned for the birth of the Blessed Thomas Woodhouse, 
who was one of the few “ Queen Mary’s Priests ” who suffered for the 
Faith under Elizabeth, the policy of the Government being to let the old 
stock of Catholic clergy die out, and meanwhile prevent by all means, any 
others from taking their place. But our Martyr was something more than 
one of the old Marian priests. He is described in Dr Sander’s « Report 
to Cardinal Moroni” {Cath. Record Socy., vol. i. p. 18) as “Thomas 



THOMAS WOODHOUSE 


June 13] 


279 


WodduSj Reginffi IVlErise Capellanusj* Chaplain in Ordinary to Her 
Majesty Queen Mary. Like all the old parochial clergy of England up 
to the mid-Tudor period, he had the title of “ Sir ” before his name. He 
appears from all written or reported evidence about him, to have been a 
man of singularly courageous character, and well would it have been for 
the Catholic Church in this country in that age of almost unexampled 
subserviency to the eastern despotism that had supplanted the larger 
freedom of Plantagenet times, if more had followed his example. Even 
when he was deprived of his chaplaincy or rectory in Lincolnshire, he 
warned the people round about to beware of the new State-supported 
heresy. After being expelled, he became a tutor in Wales in a gentleman’s 
family, but shortly afterwards left, and while saying Holy Mass at a place 
unknown, was arrested and thrown into the Fleet Prison, London. Being 
removed thence with some other prisoners, during the plague, to Cam- 
bridgeshire, he reproved his jailer for eating meat during Lent, and 
observed with some humour that he would not stay in the same house 
with him ! He kept his word, broke his somewhat “ open arrest,” and 
returned to the Fleet Prison. His frankness, and perhaps sense of the 
comic side of life, gained him the goodwill of his captors. Prisons in 
Tudor days were a compound of the horrible and the happy-go-lucky. 
Much depended on those in charge, while ” rules ” and ” liberties ” 
often allowed the better sort of inmates out under bond for days together. 
Among the enlarged, was the Rev. T. Woodhouse, who often availed 
himself of the privilege to visit his friends in London. While in captivity, 
Mr Woodhouse, who, as before remarked, had no human respect, and 
did not regard the person of men, wrote a letter to no less a personage 
than Lord Burleigh, reminding his lordship of the divine origin of the 
Primacy of St Peter and urging him to persuade the Queen to be recon- 
ciled to the Church. Bishop Milner in his Letters to a Prebe/idary, states 
that Elizabeth had informed the French Ambassador shortly after her 
accession, that privately she knew the Pope to be the true, visible Head 
of the Church, but that political considerations prevented her from acting 
upon that belief. It is not easy to reconcile this statement with facts, 
though, no doubt, there may have been some ” foundation ” for the report. 
For at the time of her coming to the Throne, the Catholic Church was 
the established religion, and by far the greater majority of her subjects 
professed it at least nominally. The new Queen had only to accept the 
ancient Faith as she found it, nay, as she had openly professed it during 
her sister’s reign. In fact, the change of religion she introduced was a very 
considerable risk, and one that might easily have led to results far different. 
But in view of her former conformity, the late legal establishment of the 
Catholic Faith, and the Bull of Deposition of Pius V, Mr Woodhouse 



28 o 


THOMAS WOODHOUSE 


[June 13 

obviously felt that the time had come for boldly putting the matter plainly 
before the great minister, and through him to his Sovereign. The 
“ Eirenicon " runs as follows: 

“ Jesus 

“ Your Lordship will peradventure marvel at my boldness that dare 
presume to interpell your wisdom, being occupied about so great and 
weighty affairs touching the state of the whole realm. Howbeit, I have 
conceived that opinion of your Lordship’s humanity that ye will not 
condemn any man’s good-will, how simple or mean soever he be, which 
maketh me bold at this present to communicate my poor advice, what is 
very requisite and best for your Lordship to do in so great and ponderous 
affairs. Forasmuch, therefore, as Our Lord and God Jesus Christ, hath 
given supreme authority unto His blessed Apostle St Peter and in him to 
his successors, the Bishops of Rome to feed, rule and govern His sheep, 
that is to say, all Christians at such time as He said unto the same His 
Apostle thrice, ‘ Feed my lambs, feed My Sheep,’ my poor advice is that 
ye humbly and unfeignedly even from the very bottom of your heart 
acknowledge and confess your great iniquity and offence against Almighty 
God, especially in d/sobeying that supreme authority and power of the 
See Apostolic, so ordained and established by the King of Kings and Lord 
of Lords, Jesus Christ, and that in all dutiful manner and apparent fruits 
of penance, ye seek to be reconciled unto that your supreme prince and 
pastor here on earth, appointed and assigned unto you by your Lord God 
and Redeemer, Jesus Christ. Likewise, that ye earnestly persuade the 
Lady Elizabeth, who for her own great disobedience is most justly deposed, 
to submit herself unto her spiritual prince and father, the Pope’s Holiness, 
and with all humility to reconcile herself unto him that she may be the 
Child of Salvation.” 

This extract contains the real substance of this remarkable missive. 
It was dispatched to the Lord Treasurer by means of the washerwoman 
of the prison, and the writer was careful to state at the conclusion of the 
exhortation that she was “ a hot Protestant,” and had no knowledge, of the 
contents. The date of the document was 19th November, 1572, but the 
reference tp the late Bull of Deposition was not calculated to reconcile 
either the recipient or the Queen to the subject-matter of the contents. 
It led to a personal interview four days later between the intrepid priest 
and the great man. Woodhouse behaved with uncompromising firmness 
and courage in the presence of the Treasurer, who may be excused perhaps 
for waxing a little hoti ” He “ grew cold again,” however, towards the 
end of the conference, and even asked the priest honestly or ironically if 
he would be his chaplain and say Mass in his house ? Woodhouse ex- 



28l 


June 15] ST GERMAINE COUSIN 

pressed his willingness to say Mass, but added that the Treasurer could 
not be present at it without being reconciled first. The whole affair must 
leave a strong impression on the mind of the present-day reader, that, with, 
say, a Benedict XIV or a Pius VII on the throne of St Peter in 1572, and 
a Consalvi or Caprara for his foreign minister, matters between the Eliza- 
bethan Court and Rome might have been settled to the satisfaction of both 
sides. But it is ever the case of “ the hour and the man! ” 

Woodhouse was, indeed, one of the “ old priests.” He thought and 
acted in the spirit of the Middle Ages that had passed for ever, and for 
him the notion of concordats and compromises was not. At his trial at the 
Guildhall, in April, .1573, he showed the same Thomas a Becket spirit, 
denying the competency of the judges to try him, “ being heretics ” and 
“ pretending authority from her that could not give it them.” He was 
taken to Tyburn from Newgate (not the Fleet) an Friday, 13th June, 
1573. He prayed in Latin, and true to the Church and State principles of 
a man “ born out of due time,” he refused to ask pardon of tlie Queen, 
retorting: " Nay, I, on the part of God, demand of you and of the Queen 
that ye ask pardon of God and of Holy Mother Church, because contrary 
to the truth, ye have resisted Christ the Lord and the Pope, His Vicar upon 
earth.” He was alive during the disembowelling and is said to have spoken, 
but the words, if uttered, were not distinctly heard. He was admitted a 
member of the Society of Jesus shortly before his death, and though this 
fact was for a long time in question, it has since been established by various 
documents, notably a letter preserved among the Burleigh Archives, which 
was written by the Martyr not long before his death. 

[Dom Bede Camm: Uves of the English Martyrs, vol. ii. (Cath. 

Record Society, vol. i.) Milner: Letters to a Prebendary. 

Challoner: Memoirs of Missionary Priests.'] 


JUNE IS 

GERMAINE COUSIN, ST, VIRGIN 
(1579-1601) 

All roads, as the saying goes, lead to Rome, and if we substitute sanctity 
for the Alma Urbs, we shall at once realize the full meaning of the holy 
adage: Deus mirahilis est in Sanctis ejus — God is .indeed wonderful in His 
Saints — ^and in His methods of making them! Some. have been led to 
their glory by the example of holy parents, others by pious reading and 
exhortations; others again by seemingly irreparable misfortunes, and the 
thousand-and-one things that close the eyes of the truly wise to the things 



282 


ST GERMAINE COUSIN 


[June 15 

of time to open them wide to those of eternity. St Germaine Cousin is 
one of those who, in the noble line of the Mantuan bard, found her vocation 
and her triumph much as the dutiful ^neas found his earthly kingdom 
“ per tot discrimina rerum! ” From the day of her birth, 1579, at Pibrac, 
a little village some ten miles from Toulouse, she was the victim of bodily 
affliction. One of her hands was deformed and she suffered from scrofula, 
the disease so prevalent under the title (in England) of “ the King’s Evil.” 
No sovereign touch was forthcoming to heal the poor little sufferer of 
Pibrac, though the monarchs of France from St Louis down to Charles X 
regularly performed the ceremony. The loss of her mother in early 
childhood was the next great calamity of Germaine. Love is said to be 
“ blind.” It appears to be often bereft of other Senses as well I For Ger- 
maine’s father not long afterwards tied himself for life to a woman who 
might well have passed as the ideal hard-hearted stepmother of fiction! 
The new Madame Cousin, or Femme Cousin, as married women under 
noble rank were then styled in France, may have been right in segregating 
little Germaine from the rest of the children through fear of infection, 
but she need not have added to this hardship, persistent neglect and fre- 
quent ill-usage. The poor child was grudgingly given the home comforts 
afforded by a stable — and a contemporary French stable at that! — ^varied 
later on by a garret. Her bed at night was of straw or leaves, and during 
the day she was kept occupied tending the paternal sheep. Shepherds and 
doubtless shepherdesses also — the real variety not amateurs like the gilded 
hergers and bergeres of the Trianon — are reported to have spent their 
long vigils in diverse ways. James Ferguson, the shepherd-boy astronomer, 
filled up his by making mechanical models and mapping the stars. Ger- 
maine Cousin’s mind soared beyond the heavenly bodies to their Creator 
and hers, and occupied her days, and the greater part of her nights, with 
prayer to God and considerations on the truths of Faith. 

It does not appear that Germaine could read. The rosary was her 
only book, and she probably knew little more than her prayers and what 
she learnt from the sermons and other verbal instructions in the Parish 
Church. But the really devout are never at a loss. Grace, and the various 
private inspirations that word covers, supplies the deficiency, and then 
as the Imitation reminds us : “ If thou didst know the whole Bible by heart 
and the sayings of all the philosophers, what would it all profit thee without 
the love of God and grace? ” 1 

The Lije of the Saint in the Breviary, informs us that Germaine heard 
Mass daily and communicated every feast-day. Her devotion to Our Lady 
was remarkable, and from the wonderful stores of her acquired wisdom 
and holiness, she imparted frequent instructions in Christian doctrine to 

* Book i, diap. 1. 



June 15] ST GERMAINE COUSIN 283 

many of the peasant children of the district. No less was her charity to 
the poor. She always saved part of her own rough and not too abundant 
fare so as to be able to relieve the roaming mendicant and the destitute 
child. It is related in the Acts of her Canonization that God even in 
this life often rewarded His handmaid by signs and wonders, as when 
He caused some bread she had reserved as usual for “ her poor,” but 
which her harsh stepmother had hidden, to blossom forth into beautiful 
flowers. It is also recorded that she more than once walked on the 
surface of the waters of a flooded river on the way to Mass. Of 
course, for some time the devotions of this youthful hermit were re- 
garded by the more thoughtless of the villagers as a subject for jest, but 
the unmistakable signs of holiness, which even the most casual observer 
could not help noticing, gradually silenced the voice of rustic criticism, 
and many who had been inclined to scoff, came to acknowledge that Pibrac 
and its district possessed a Saint in the poor little shepherdess who lived 
so much alone. Neighbours were not the only ones to learn the lesson. 
At the eleventh hour, Germaine’s own father awoke to a sense of the great 
wrong he had permitted to be done to his daughter, and at last put his foot 
down and ordered his wife to treat her as well as the rest of the family. 
But just as history tells us that even prisoners after long years of confine- 
ment acquire a sort of attachment to their cells, so Germaine by this 
time had come to look upon her life of solitary pastoral care and com- 
munings with God the great Shepherd of Souls, as part and parcel of her 
existence. She had so long lived wrapped up in divine contemplation 
and the enjoyment of celestial delights, that mere human amenities, even 
those of her own home, seemed poor and profitless by comparison. It 
was in every way fitting that one whose whole life had been made up of 
hardship and neglect, even in the midst of her own family, should have 
left the world unnoticed. Germaine Cousin, the wonderful shepherd- 
girl who had experienced twenty-two years almost of griefs and sorrows 
that would have broken the resolution of even the strongest, was found 
dead on her rough bed of leaves by her father when he went to call her to 
her daily round one morning in the summer of 1601. The widespread 
reputation for holiness which had grown round Germaine Cousin shortly 
before her death, and the hard life she had endured so cheerfully and use- 
fully, made the people of Pibrac desire to have her body interred in the 
Parish Church, and her remains were in consequence buried close to the 
pulpit. Forty-three years later the body was found incorrupt, and not 
only that, but elevated almost to the level of the church floor. The wooden 
coffin was now enclosed in one of lead, this latter a sort of thankoffering 
from a Mdme de Beauregard, who was believed to have been cured of a 
dangerous ulcer through the intercession of the holy girl. Nearly a century 



HUMPHREY MIDDLEMORE 


284 


[June 19 


after her death, the cause of Germaine began to be seriously proposed for 
Canonization, but it got no further apparently than discussion and some 
negotiation. During the Revolution (1793), the body was seized by some 
Jacobins, headed by a tinsmith, named Toulza, and after being dragged 
from the cofHn was cast into quicklime and water, but was later recovered 
not much damaged and restored to its original sepulchre. Local devotion 
continued despite the vicissitudes of years, various miracles and spiritual 
and temporal favours through the intercession of the holy shepherdess 
were recorded, and in 1850 her Beatification was requested by the hierarchy 
of France. Among the miracles attested on this occasion was a then very 
recent one, relating to a wonderful supply of food for the poor people 
supported by the Good Shepherd Nuns at Bourges in the course of 1 845. 
Other favours included cures of various apparently hopeless diseases, 
blindness, etc. The result of this was that on 7th May, 1854, Pope Pius 
IX declared Germaine Cousin, Blessed. On 29th June, 1867, the same 
great Pontiff enrolled her among the number of the Saints. St Germaine 
Cousin who ranks with St Zita, St Isidore the Labourer, and many others 
as one of the patrons of working-class life, is usually represented in Christian 
art in the dress of a shepherdess holding a crook, while a dog or a sheep 
rests at her feet. 


(Yeuillot: Fie de la Bienheureuse Germaine (Paris, 1904). Roman 
Breviary: Fan Verna, ‘^Vies des Saints pour tous les 
Jours de I’Ann^e” (Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne, 1920).] 


JUNE 19 

MIDDLEMORE, THE BLESSED HUMPHREY, 
CARTHUSIAN, MARTYR 

(?-tti537) 

Humphrey Middlemore, who ranks as the fourth of the Blessed Martyrs 
of the London Charterhouse, came of a stock long famous in Catholic 
annals — ^the Middlemores of Edgebaston, Birmingham. His father was 
Richard Middlemore, “Lord of Edgebaston,” who died, 1503. The 
wife of this gentleman was Mary, daughter of Sir Thomas Throckmorton 
of Coughton, another name venerable in the history of the recusants. 
The year that Humphrey entered the Carthusians does not appear, but 
he was one of the three members of the Order to whom Thomas Bedyll, 
Archdeacon of Cornwall, came, not long after the martyrdom of the 
Blessed John Houghton and the others, to try and win them over to the 
Royal Supremacy. This Bedyll who was a B.C.L. of New College, 
Oxford, had been secretary to Archbishop Warham of Canterbury, and if 


HUMPHREY MIDDLEMORE 


June 19] 


285 


he were the official to whom that prelate when on his death-bed dictated 
the famous protest against the anti-papal policy of Henry VIII, that solemn 
scene and declaration seem to have made very little impression on him. 
He was probably one of the crowd of new men,” t.c., unscrupulous 
upstarts, who in every revolution are bent on furthering their own fortunes, 
regardless of conscience or morality. The famous, or rather infamous. 
Parliament of 1529, was crammed with these knaves, the like of whom 
two centuries later evoked Swift’s mordant irony.i 

Bedyll came to the Charterhouse loaded with treatises and books against 
the primacy of the Pope. These works, of course, were Lutheran pro- 
ductions, full of false history, distorted quotations from Fathers and 
Councils, and animated by intense virulence against Rome. Ten years 
before, such literature would have cost the possessor his life very likely, 
at least in England, for Henry was still, despite the notorious looseness of 
his life where women were concerned, the “ Defender of the Faith ” in 
the original Catholic sense — the Prince who had sent his royal Apologia 
for the Seven Sacraments to Leo X, with the words: “ Every Church of 
the faithful acknowledges and venerates the Roman See as its Mother 
and Primate. ... If we have erred in anything, we offer it to be corrected, 
as it may please your Holiness.” (Letter to Leo X.) 

Now, like Solomon, his amours had undone him, and he was at war 
with Christ’s Vicar — a war even to the death. Bedyll argued with Fathers 
Middlemore and Exmew, the Vicar and Procurator, for an hour and a half, 
and then departed for home, leaving the anti-papal treatises behind him. 
Next morning, being in bed and probably ” done up ” with his polemical 
exertions the day before, Bedyll sent for the Vicar and Procurator, and asked 
them if they or others of the Community had read these precious pro- 
ductions? He was told that though they (Fathers Middlemore and Exmew) 
had perused the same till nine o’clock the night before, they had lighted 
upon no argument to make them alter their opinion 1 Cardinals Baronius 
and Bellarmine were to come to exactly the same kind of conclusion with 
regard to similar attacks in the tomes of the Magdeburg Centuriators some fifty 
years later ! Just as Queen Elizabeth is reported to have secretly gone to 
hear Campion preach, so current opinion at the time related that Henry 
himself, after the failure of his obsequious tool, paid a clandestine visit 
to the Charterhouse, and this time with the intention of disproving his own 
before-quoted words. To force all the Brethren to assert that every Church 
of the faithful does not ” admit the Roman See as its Mother and Primate! ” 


^ “ I desired that the Senate of Rome might appear before me in one Jarge chamber, and a 
modem representative in counterview in another. The first seemed to be an assemblj of heroes 
and demi-gods, the other a knot of pediars, pickpockets, highwavmen and bullies! ” — A Voyage to 
Laputa, chap. vii. 



286 


HUMPHREY MIDDLEMORE 


(June 19 

was now the great, the royal task ! If such a visit were paid, the scene that 
ensued must have been a truly dramatic one — ^the terrible King — ^Harry 
Tudor all over, despite the doubtless careful disguise — the flickering 
candelabra of the Chapter Room — the assembled white-robed community, 
detached, respectful, but determined ! We can but wonder how the contro- 
versy progressed, and whether the chief spokesman reminded His Majesty 
of his own book, by this time famous over the Christian world and affording 
irrefragable arguments for the primacy of St Peter and his successors ? 
Stubborn and ruthless as Henry was, it is amazing how even he, in the 
face of Europe and his own realms, could thus have so far demeaned 
himself as to eat his Own words and give the He to the mature production 
of his pen 1 

However this may have been, the result of this truly astonishing 
incident was that three weeks later, Dom Humphrey Middlemore, William 
ExmeW and Sebastian Newdigate were close prisoners in the Marshalsea. 
That hold in 1537 was not the free-and-easy, happy-go-lucky place of 
confinement for “ gentlemen jail-birds,” i.e., debtors, contempt of Court 
offenders and the like, it was in Dickens’s early days, but “ a most filthy 
prison ” in contemporary estimation, and as the Tudor estimation was not 
squeamish in such matters, the condition of the place must have been 
simply horrible. There the three Carthusians were chained in a dungeon 
and right up to the time when they were brought forth to undergo- their 
farce of a trial — the usual Tudor state cloak fOr prearranged murder — 
on 1 2th June, 1537. The charge of “Treason” alleged Was that the 
accused Fathers could not repute the King “ to be supreme head on earth 
of the Church of England under Christ.” A week afterwards, i9th June, 
these protomartyrs of the Ancient Faith were, in Scots’ covenanting phrase- 
ology, “justified.” The crowd around Tyburn witnessed the awful butchery 
of these venerable Fathers, mxirmuring, it is true, but doing nothing more, 
which, indeed, is the way crowds have, as John Mitchell Was to learn on 
that bright May morning in 1848, when informed that the noise around 
the Dublin prison-van then taking him to transportation, was not that of 
an attempted rescue, but merely the “ people ” going — to a flower-show! 
No wonder the disillusioned patriot exclaimed in the bitterness of his soul; 

“ Well done, my countrymen, you’ll be a nation — ^by and by 1 ” 



June 19] BLESSED SEBASTIAN NEWDIGATE 


287 


JUNE 19 

NEWDIGATE, THE BLESSED SEBASTIAN, CARTHUSIAN, 

MARTYR 

0 ~^S 37 ) 

The father of this, one of the fellow-sufferers with the Blessed Humphrey 
Middlemore and William Exmew, was John Newdigate, King’s Serjeant 
(at law), and Lord of the manor of Harefield, Middlesex. His wife was 
Amphelys Nevill. Of their seventeen children, Sebastian had he chosen 
to go with the tide, would, no doubt, have arrived at much worldly dis- 
tinction, for after leaving Cambridge, he went to Court, and became a 
great favourite. He married, and had a daughter whom he named Am- 
phelys, after his mother. Beyond these meagre statements, we know 
next to nothing of his early life. Judging by the few details that have 
come to hand, we may be justified in supposing that Sebastian was a 
character very like that of Saint Gabriel Possenti (1838-1862), whose 
life appears in this Supplement,* a youth, full of spirit, gay and modish, 
yet all the while conscious of a call to a great and holy destiny. Sebastian’s 
wife died early, and possibly this sorrow may have had its share in revealing 
to him the full meaning of that word “ transient,” which is so indelibly 
written across the face of all sublunary things. This may have been so, 
but certainly the great and sinister change that came over the King (Henry 
VIII) about 1522, gave the young and highly-endowed gentleman-in- 
waiting furiously to think. Reports of the pagan delights which the spirit 
of the Renaissance had made the vogue at Whitehall, as in other high places 
throughout Europe, reached the ears of Lady Robert Dormer, Sebastian’s 
sister, who had married Sir Robert Dormer of Wenge. She apparently 
came to see her brother to warn him of the moral perils of the Court, 
when he said to his sister, “ what shall you say if the next news you hear 
of me shall be that I am entered to be a monk in the Charterhouse ? ” “A 
monk! ” exclaimed the now astonished sister, who with true family blunt- 
ness added: “ I should be less surprised to see thee hanged 1 ” The lady 
was to see both eventualities come to pass 1 

Not long after this, the courtier-brother exchanged the “spacious 
days ” of Whitehall, Eltham, and Hampton Court, for the solitude of the 
London Chartreuse. The same sister, who had expressed so much scepti- 
cism as to her brother’s religious call, was still convinced that the whole 
idea was “ impossible,” for she again came to town to advise the Prior 
not to admit one who must before long be rejected as having no vocation. 
She got the second great surprise of her life when the Prior, the saintly 

^ See May 31. 



288 BLESSED FRANCIS PACHECO, OR PACECHO [June 20 

Dom John Tynburgh, who died on the very eve of the Tudor “ Terror,” 
informed her that her brother showed every sign of becoming a very good 
religious. Lady Dormer, who seems to have had a wonderful love for, and 
interest in, this one of her several brothers, was greatly moved at this happy 
intelligence, and when she saw Dom Sebastian — probably for the last time 
in this world — she was able to note how far advanced he already was on 
the road to perfection. Whatever doubt there may be about Henry VIIFs 
visit to the Charterhouse, there seems to be. none with regard to his inter- 
view with Dom Sebastian, both in the Marshalsea and later in the Tower. 
The King flattered, argued and abused, but with the Faith at stake and 
death now well in sight, it was no time for temporizing. The ex-courtier 
spoke out and to the point, “ When in Court, I served Your Majesty, I 
did it loyally and faithfiilly,” he replied, “ and so continue still your humble 
servant, although kept in this prison and bonds. But in matters that belong 
to the Faith and glory of our Lord Jesus Christ, to the doctrine of the 
Catholic Church and the Salvation of my poor soul. Your Majesty must 
be pleased to excuse me.” The King then said: “ Art thou wiser and 
holier than all the ecclesiastics and seculars of my kingdom? ” Dom 
Sebastian; “ I may not judge of others, nor do I esteem myself either 
wise or holy, being far short in either, only this I assure myself that the 
faith and doctrine I profess is no new thing, nor now invented, but always 
among the faithful held for Christian and Catholic. We must obey God 
rather than man.” 


JUNE 20 

FRANCIS PACHECO OR PACECHO, S.J., THE BLESSED, 

MARTYR IN JAPAN 
(i 565-1626) 

Like so many of that heroic band of martyrs who suffered in Japan during 
the early decades of the seventeenth century, the Blessed Francis Pacheco 
was a Portuguese. He was born at Ponte de Lima, a small town In 
Portugal, 1565, and twenty years later, entered the Novitiate of the 
Society of Jesus. Though Sommervogel does not mention the fact, it 
seems very probable that he studied classics at the Collegio de las Artes, 
one of the Constituent Colleges of the University of Coimbra, then recently 
reformed, and at the height of its fame. The Collegio was under the 
direction of the Jesuit Fathers. In 1592, he was sent to Goa, the capital 
of Catholicism in the East Indies, and of the Portuguese possessions 
in those parts. While there, he taught theology for four years, and 
then in 1600 was appointed Rector of the Jesuit College of St Paul 



June 20J BLESSED FRANCIS PACHECO OR PACECHO 289 

at Ma'caojin China, a town which, since 1576, had been one of the Suffragan 
Sees of Goa. The College of St Paul was the chief College of the Province 
of Japan, and was known from the numbers of its alumni, who had suffered 
for the Faith, as the “ Seminary of Martyrs.” The See of Macao at that 
time was in a very flourishing condition, as in addition to native Christians, 
there were many Portuguese and other European residents, chiefly 
merchants and their dependants settled in the place. Besides the work 
of preparing for the mission-field, which was peculiarly theirs, the Jesuit 
Fathers took their full share in promoting the spiritual welfare of their 
own countrymen. The next posts filled by Father Francis were Superior- 
ships at Arima and Camo. The date of his taking up the active part of 
Japanese Missionary life is not given. He was one of the band of martyrs 
put to death at Nagasaki, Japan, on 20th June, 1626, and for the des- 
cription of the sufferings inflicted on the condemned, see notice of the 
Japanese Martyrs under February 5. 

The other Jesuit Fathers and members of the Society, who died for 
the Faith, at the same time and place, were : — 

Baltassar de Torres, h, at Grenada, 1563 ; John Baptist Zola, b. at 
Brescia (Italy), 157J; Vincent Cann, scholastic, S.J., b. at 
Corea, 1580 ; John Kinsaco, b. at Nagasaki, ifioy ; Peter 
Rinxei, Japanese scholastic, b. 1588 ; Michael Tozo, Japanese 
scholastic, b. 1588 ; Paul Xinsuki, Japanese scholastic, b. 1572 ; 
Caspar San da Matzu, coadjutor, S.J., b. at Omura, 1565 ; 
Anthony Ixida, b. at Arima, Japan, 1570. 

A letter giving an account of the martyrdoms was sent (to the General 
of the Jesuits?) by Fr. Peter de Moreion, S.J. There is also another 
narrative, of the same, no doubt based on this letter in Cordura’s History 
of the Society of Jesus, part vi., book xi. The above were beatified by Pius 
IX, 7th July, 1864, two years after the Beatification of a large number of 
other martyrs of Japan, the solemnity of which impressed the whole 
world. Catholic and Non-Catholic, and added a note of joyous triumph 
to the cadence of sorrow caused by the persistent attacks on the Holy See 
then in progress. 

\_BibUotheque de la Compagnie de Jesus, vol. vi., part ii., by Charles 
Sommervogel, S.J. Les Saints Confesseurs et M.artyrs de la 
Compagnie de Jesus, by Fredk. Rouvier, S.J. (Lille, 1893.).] 



29 ° 


THE JESUIT MARTYRS OF CANADA [June 21 


JUNE 21 

THE JESUIT MARTYRS OF CANADA 
( i 64'2'- i 649) 

Canada, the name of which is said to be derived from the Indian word 
“ Kannatha,” a village or collection of huts, came very near passing 
under English rule as far back as 1629 when Louis and Thomas Kirke, 
two Scottish privateer captains of singular skill and daring, acting under 
a Commission from Charles I, conquered Quebec and took prisoner 
the Sieur Samuel de Champlain, the French Governor of “ New France,’’ 
as the vast “ Dominion ” was then called. The treaty of St Germain, 
three years later, restored the forcibly acquired territory again to Louis 
XIII, and but for this pact there would of course have been no “ Con- 
quest of Canada,” 1759-60, no death of General Wolfe and the Marquis 
de Montcalm on the Heights of Abraham. Governor Champlain returned 
in 1633. It was during his rule (1615-35), that the Catholic Missions 
made great progress in Canada, Franciscan and Jesuit Fathers went far 
up country among the Hurons, Algonquins and Iroquois chiefly — fierce 
Indian tribes, whose “ Braves,” like the Norse Berserkers of old, idolized 
war and the red-handed foray, and held the mild dictates of Christianity 
in supreme contempt. The efforts of the Fathers to stabilize the nomadic 
people , in “ Kannathas ” or villages, were not popular. The Iroquois, 
especially, resented what they considered a decadent innovation, and 
the preaching too of the missionaries against the awful inter-tribal 
feuds and wars with their lightning attacks, wholesale massacres, and 
diabolical acts of revenge, all helped to make the progress of the Gospel 
extremely slow. 

The first missionary to die for the Faith during this period, was Brother 
Rend Goupil, who, while on his way back to Quebec, on 2nd August, 
1 642, together with Father Isaac Jogues, was seized by the Iroquois, and 
on the 29th September following, was cut down in the act of making the 
sign of the Cross on the forehead of a child whom he was very probably 
baptizing, Pdre Jogues, who, after various horrible tortures, succeeded 
in effecting his escape, returned to Paris, but later came back to resume 
his Apostolic labours among the Red Men. Pere Jogues was born at 
Orleans, loth January, 1607, and studied at Rouen.- He came to Canada 
in 1636, and worked for years in the far-flung regions about the valley of 
the Mississippi. After returning to Canada as stated, he was sent, pre- 
sumably by the authorities at Quebec, as Ambassador to the Iroquois, by 
whom he was killed, 1 8th October, 1 646, With him was also slain Pere ( ?) 
Jean de la Lande, born at Dieppe. 



June 21] THE JESUIT MARTYRS OF CANADA 291 

Tie other Jesuits who lost their lives in the cause of religion or Christian 
morality in 1648-49 were : 

(tf) Pere Antoine Danielj born at Dieppe, 17th May, 1601. Atthetime 
of his death, he was priest of the Mission of St Joseph with a congregation 
of about 400 families, mostly Hurons. On the morning of 14th July, 
1648, while Pere Daniel was saying Mass, the village was attacked by the 
Iroquois, and among the slain was the devoted missioner, who, however, 
baptized a number of catechumens before the end came. 

{F) Pere Jean de Brebeuf, “ The Lion of the Huron Mission,” born 
at Conde-sur-Vire, 25th March, 1593, of a very old Norman family, some 
members of which had fought under William the Conqueror and St 
Louis. He traversed the country in a canoe, evangelizing and baptizing, 
for many years, commencing with 162^. He was captured by hostile 
Indians, in March, 1649, and subjected to frightful tortures. His finger- 
nails were torn ofif", boiling oil was poured over him in mockery of baptism, 
and finally his heart was plucked out. With him was also martyred — 

(c) Pere Gabriel Lalemant, bom at Paris, 30th October, 1610. Fr. 
Lalemant suffered torture for seventeen hours, and was then killed by 
some blows from a tomahawk. The following month (7th December), 

(d) Pere Charles Gamier, born at Paris, 25th May, 1606, “ The 
Lamb of the Huron Mission,” who, after living among the Indians a 
life of great austerity, was shot down by some Jroquois and axed to death 
on the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, to which he had 
always a tender devotion. His friend and companion — 

(e) Noel Chabanel,^ was put to death the following day. He had 
been in Canada about six years, and had acquired a thorough knowledge 
of the Huron language, and the year before, on the Feast of Corpus 
Christi, had made a solemn vow to live and die for the conversion of 
the Indians. 

These eight sufferers for the Faith in Canada, though only some 
names of a still larger and no less glorious band, were declared Blessed 
by Pope Pius XI, 21st Jxme, 1925, the case of the Beati having been 
finally examined, i8th November, 1924, and 31st March, 1925. 

[R. P. de la Rochemonteix ; Les Jesuits et la Nouvelle France. 
Almanack CathoHque Francais -pour 1926. (Bloud et Gay, 
Paris.) Carl Ploetz : Epitome of History. (Blackie &: Son, 
London.).] 


^ Bom, 2nd February, 1613. 



29 % 


ST JOHN FISHER 


[JUNB 22 


JUNE 22 

FISHER, ST JOHN, CARDINAL AND 
BISHOP OF ROCHESTER, MARTYR 

(1459 P- 1535 ) 

The year 1459 is commonly assigned as the date of the birth of this 
illustrious prelate, though it is more likely that the actual year was either 
1466 or 1469. However, as the hatless Cardinal himself no doubt would 
have said, it matters not when or where this poor mortal life of ours 
begins, but a great deal how it is ended ! The future glory of the English 
Church was born at Beverley, the town of the Minster and other Gothic 
grandeurs, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, though now chiefly remem- 
bered by Catholics of this country as the some time seat of one of the 
Sees of the restored hierarchy from 1850 to 1878. John Fisher was 
probably the youngest of the four children of Robert and Agnes Fisher, 
his father being a mercer of the town. One of the Cardinal’s sisters 
afterwards became a Dominican nun, and was in the convent of the Order 
at Dartford, Kent, in her brother’s diocese, for many years. It has been 
stated that young Fisher was educated at the Grammar School, Rochester, 
though how this could have been the case does not appear, as there is no 
mention made of the migration of the family from remote Beverley to the 
far-off Cathedral City of the Medway. It is now certain that he had his 
schooling in the Latin School of his native town, and thence went in 1483 
to Michael House, Cambridge, a semi-collegiate foundation long since 
merged into Trinity. He became Bachelor in 1487, Master, 1491, and 
Fellow, 1491. On 17th December of that year he was ordained priest. 
He graduated D.D. in 1501, and about the same time was appointed 
Vice-chancellor of the University. The general poverty and decadence 
brought about by the Wars of the Roses were nowhere more apparent 
than at the Universities, which had in consequence of the mutual 
slaughter of the baronage greatly declined. Cambridge is described as 
being especially poor, and its students ill-provided for, and we can imagine 
the joy of the zealous Vice-chancellor when informed by the Lady 
Margaret Tudor, mother of the King (Henry VII) that she had resolved 
to found a Chair of Divinity in the great academic centre of the Cam I 
Fisher had been appointed confessor to that very holy Princess in 1497. 
It was her original intention to build a splendid chantry at Westminster, 
but as her ghostly father pointed out, the cause of religion would be better 
served in other ways. The result of this advice was Christ College, 
Cambridge, and two Chairs of Theology, one at Oxford, the other, as 
stated, at the rival University. 

Note. — ^T his Feast is now celebrated on 9th Ju]7. 



SAINT JOHN FISHER to fee. ,^.292 

In the picture, St. John Fisher is wearing the robes of a cardinal. The cardinal’s hat was sent to him by 
the Pope after he had been cast into the Tower by King Henr>* VIII. This made the King even more 




June 22] ST JOHN FISHER 293 

The close connection of Fisher with the Court and his known holiness, 
learning, and austerity of life, suggested him to Henry as a very suitable 
occupant of the See of Rochester, vacant through the translation of Bishop 
Fitzjames to Chichester. The Bulls of Consecration from that martial 
Pontiff, Julius II, came on 13th October, 1^04, and on 17th Novem- 
ber following, Fisher was consecrated Bishop of Rochester at Lambeth 
Palace, the consecrating prelate being Archbishop Warham, assisted 
by Wm. Smith, Bishop of Lincoln, and Richard Nykke, Bishop of 
Norwich. 

The See of Rochester, which owes its foundation to St Augustine of 
Canterbury, the Apostle of the English nation, having been founded about 
A.D. 604, was at this time (1504), the poorest bishopric in England. 
The revenues were estimated at only about ;^30o a year, and if this sum 
means that value in modern currency, it is difficult to see how even Fisher, 
despite the extreme simplicity, or rather ascetic austerity, of his life, could 
have maintained the ordinary expenses of his “ poor spouse,” as he loved 
to term his See. Apart from the revenue, he had the episcopal palace of 
Rochester, and what may be called a London house, known as “ La Place,” 
on Lambeth Marsh, near Southwark Bridge. 

The year of his promotion to the episcopate, Fisher was appointed 
Chancellor of Cambridge.. To such a man this was no mere splendid 
sinecure. He not only superintended personally the building and or- 
ganization of Christ College, and later the erection of the Lady Margaret’s 
other munificent Foundation, St John’s College, but took a very active 
part in what may be called the “ evangelizing ” of the poor. Among the 
many ecclesiastical abuses rife at this period, want of popular instruction 
in religion was not the least. He advised the Lady Margaret to endow 
certain preacherships with the proviso that the holders were to deliver 
sermons in various parts of the country. But as example is better than 
precept, the holy Bishop himself frequently gave discourses, notably a 
series on the Penitential Psalms, and when the Lutheran heresies were 
finding their way into the kingdom, Fisher from the pulpit more than 
once explained the true teaching of the Church on the points at issue. 
It was, undoubtedly, ignorance of the Catholic religion among the masses 
that gave the Reformation in this country, as in Scotland, its great chance, 
and had Fisher’s timely warning on the subject been attended to, it seems 
not unlikely that even Henry VIII and his Sejanus, Cromwell, would 
have been unable to . wrest the nation from the faith of its forefathers.^ 

» The tenth Canon of the too belated Provincial Council of Edinburgh, under Archbishop 
Hamilton of St Andrews and “ Legatnait ” {Legatus Natus), held in January, 1552, set forth 
that “ having regard finally to the fact that neither the prelates nor the inferior clerp of the 
Kingdom are, as a rule, sufficiently learned properly to instruct the people in the faith, or to 



294 


[June 22 


ST JOHN FISHER 

The saintly Bishop was not only zealous in instructing the ignorant 
but he was- equally untiring in all other branches of pastoral work. He 
frequently visited the sick and poor of his own diocese in their own 
homes, consoled and relieved the needy, and where advisable, admini- 
stered the last rites of the Church. He would sometimes sit for hours 
together in the meanest hovel and most noisome abode, instructing, 
exhorting, admonishing, ever faithfully carrying out the duties of the 
bonus pastor. 

In his own private life he practised the mortifications employed by 
the Saints in all ages, eating very sparingly, observing rigorous fasts, 
praying much over and above the Canonical Hours, and allowing himself 
usually not more than four or five hours rest ! He took great delight in 
study, and though he never aspired to the distinction of being considered 
a paragon of learning, soon became. as famous over Europe for his scholar- 
ship, as he was for the sanctity of his life. When the Fifth Lateran 
Council was being held, in 1513, there was some question of Fisher going 
to Rome as the delegate or representative of the English Church, but 
though a sum of ,^500 was assigned for his expenses, he did not proceed 
to the Eternal City. His presence in England, however, was very for- 
tunate, for he was able to prevent some changes being made in the carrying 
out of the will of the Lady Margaret which would have proved very 
prejudicial to her Foundation, St John’s College. The Bishop of Rochester 
not only saw that infant institution well through all initial difficulties, 
but he further showed his deep interest in the place by founding Lecture- 
ships in Greek and Hebrew — those two pet children of the Renaissance — 
besides adding several scholarships on his own account. This must have 
been almost Fisher’s last eminent service to the University as Chancellor, 
an office which he resigned in 1514 in favour of that rapidly rising star, 
Thomas Wolsey, just created Archbishop of Tork and presently to be 
elevated to the purple. 

Though the affection of Fisher for his Sovereign dated from the days 
of the latter’s childhood, he was too upright a man. to be a mere pliant, 
obsequious courtier. The immense treasures which the late King and 
his harpies, Empson and Dudley, had wrung .or cozened out of the old 
nobility and others, were soon squandered in a war with France, every 
whit as foolish, criminal and useless as was that of the Hundred Years. 

convert those in error the Council decrees that a Catechism is to be compiled for the instruction 
of the clergy as well as of their flocks written in the Scottish tongue and drawn up by the most 
learned prelates and theologians of the Scottish Church.” The result of this decree was the 
publication within six months of “ The Catechisme,” giving concise but excellent instructions on 
the Creed, Ten Commandments, Seven Sacraments, and Prayer, but, as before stated, the 
admirable little book was at least twenty years too late ! See Bellsheim : History of the Catholic 
Church of Scotland, vol. ii., chap. v. 



June 22] ST JOHN FISHER 


295 


In 1523, the great Lord Cardinal swept into Convocation, a dazzling, 
moving pageant of scarlet robes, silver crosses and pillars, and gorgeously 
arrayed attendants. It was to demand yet another grant, and of course, 
for the Warl The dignified ecclesiastics voted it after a formal debate, 
but Fisher boldly led the opposition in a speech which unfortunately does 
not appear to have been preserved. 

Less than ten years later was he again to be in opposition, not to a 
subsidy, but to the beginning of a schism which was to drench the nation 
with innocent blood, fill the realm with doctrinal confusion, and make its 
Church an outcast from both East and West I It is something more 
than a coincidence that the imperious Cardinal having overawed the Clergy 
should have then proceeded to override the Commons. There however 
he was successfully withstood by the Speaker, that Sir Thomas More 
who was to stand by Fisher in the larger and nobler cause, and with him 
to pour forth his blood in witness of the unity of Christ’s Church. 

It would serve no purpose to relate at large the sordid story of the 
rise and progress of the scandal of the royal divorce. No candid, well- 
informed person can now be ignorant of the main facts of the case, or 
affect to believe that anything else but an unholy passion, mingled, possibly, 
with the desire for an heir-male to the Throne, could have led Henry to 
seek to dissolve, after nearly twenty years of wedded life, his marriage 
with his virtuous but by this time, elderly Queen. Among the many 
consulted by the King in the hope of making out a strong case for the 
divorce, was Bishop Fisher. Now although that learned and holy prelate 
knew that the appeal of the King and his abetters to the Levitical Law of 
the ancient Jews as against the living judgment of Christ’s Vicar, was 
merely a piece of hypocrisy to give a show of religion and legality to a 
bad cause, he nevertheless set himself diligently to study the whole 
question, both of the marriage of the King with the widow of his deceased 
brother Arthur, and the papal dispensation that had authorized it. It 
may be stated here that though Catharine had married Prince Arthur, 
as she did at St Paul’s Cathedral, on 14th November, 1501, the marriage 
was never consummated, and that when she later (1509) married his 


brother, Henry, she went to the altar as a virgin bride, attired in white, 
and this fact of her virginity at that time was solemnly deposed to both 
by herself and other unimpeachable witnesses of her own sex. In fact, 
the dispensation of Julius II had been granted on that very condition, i.e., 
that the first marriage with Arthur had not been consummated, and there 
had of course been no objection raised anywhere in Christendom to the 


undoubted power of the Pope to dispense in such a case. In May, 1527, 
Bishop Fisher gave in his answer to the King’s query. He said that after 
having studied the whole matter long and carefully, he did not doubt 



296 ST JOHN FISHER [June 22 

“ that considering the plenitude of the power which Christ had conferred 
on the Sovereign Pontiff, the Pope could for some very grave reason 
dispense for such a marriage . . . otherwise to no purpose Christ would 
have said : ‘ Whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in 
Heaven.’ ” 

This answer must have been a terrible blow to Henry’s expectations 
of a settlement of the question through the ordinary and regular channels. 
Meanwhile the Pope, Clement VII, deferred the inevitable hostile judg- 
ment against the King in the hope, of course, that time, weariness and 
better counsels would prevail, and Henry be led to desist from his unholy 
design. When the Peers — acting under great pressure from the Court — 
petitioned the Pontiff to accede to the King’s wishes, Clement replied 
with spirit, and it need scarcely be added that the historic Commission to 
Cardinals Wolsey and . Campeggio to try the issue at the Blackfriars 
(June, 1529), was merely another expedient to prove yet again to the 
English Court and the world, how utterly impossible it was for the 
Church, through her visible ruler, to annul the law of Christ. At that 
trial, Bishop Fisher appeared as one of the Counsel for the Queen. As 
usual he did not mince matters, but boldly told the no doubt astonished 
courtiers that he espoused the cause of her Majesty “ to avoid the 
damnation of his soul,” and ” to assert and demonstrate with cogent 
reasons that this marriage with the King could not be dissolved by any 
power divine or human ! ” From that moment he was the mortal enemy 
not only of Henry — ^whose resentment meant death 1 — but also of_ Anne 
Boleyn, and his fate was now merely a matter of time. 

In every great crisis, religious or political, there are always those who 
really believe or affect to see some remarkable natural portent or even 
alleged supernatural coincidence, that in their opinion bears exactly on the 
case. The “ Angels of Mons,” and the several mystical allusions referred 
to in the Apocalypse which set numbers of persons thinking even during 
the slaughter and other calamities of the late World-War, are instances in 
point. . The divorce proceedings of Henry called forth the “ Holy Maid 
of Kent,” Elizabeth Barton, a Benedictine nun of St Stephen’s. Canter- 
bury, who professed to have received heavenly warnings of the evils that 
would fall upon the King if he persisted in the course he had begun. 
The “ Maid ” paid a visit to Fisher and was kindly received by him, but 
he gave no decided opinion on the subject of her alleged visions and 
prophecies, prudently contenting himself with stating that such matters, 
while possible, are always to be treated with great caution. After the 
conviction and execution of the nun for " treason,” Fisher was condemned 
by an Act of Parliament. The charge was ” misprision of treason,” Le., of 
concealing it after the fact, and his Lordship was sentenced to be imprisoned 



June 22] ST JOHN FISHER . 297 

during the King’s pleasure, and to forfeit all his goods. The old Bishop 
was at this time in a miserable state of health, and so to make sure of 
something, the Court ultimately allowed him to compound by paying a 
fine of ;C300 — a whole year’s revenue of his See! 

Two years before this, Fisher had yet again run counter to the royal 
will in the matter of the notorious “ Supreme Headship ” question, 
debated in the Convocation of that time. For acknowledging the late 
Cardinal Wolsey’s legatine authority— though this had not only been 

sanctioned but even commanded by Henry as far back as 1521 the 

clergy were declared to have incurred a pramtinire, but were graciously 
to be allowed to get ofi^ on condition of paying the Crown the terriffic sum 
of ,^100,000, 8s. 4d., over a million in our currency, and acknowledging 
Henry as Supreme Head on earth of the "EngYish Church.^ 

Had the English hierarchy shown anything like the magnificent 
courage of the French bishops, who, at the time of the great Revolution 
almost instantly rejected, in the face of Jacobin fury and menace, the 
Schismatical “ Civil Constitution of the Clergy ” — all would have been 
well. For all his brutality and bluff, Henry like most bullies, receded 
before a bold front, as witness his decidedly panic-stricken behaviour 
when the Pilgrimage of Grace began to assume “ alarming proportions 1 ” 
But alone of all that sycophant assembly, the noble Fisher stood forth 
reminding, with prophetic voice, the episcopate that the Supreme Head- 
ship, if granted, might easily come in course of time to a woman or even 
to a child 1 Thanks to this heroic but solitary champion, the Convocation 
did qualify its submission to the King' with the memorable clause : — 
Quantum -per legem Dei licet — “ as far as it is allowed by the law of Christ ” — 
which even Henry deemed it expedient to accept.* 

^ The Statute of PrKmunire (1393) forbade the introduction into England of Bulls and 
other processes of the Pope when these related to dvil matters triable in the King’s Courts. The 
Act did not, of course, refer to Bulls, etc., concerning purely spiritual affairs. The Archbishops of 
Canterbury from the time of St Anselm (1033-1 109), were the Legati-Naii or ex opicio Legates 
of the Pope in England. That privilege seems to have been first conferred on the Archbishop, 
just named, by Urban II. Any other Legate coming into the Kingdom required the licence of 
the Government before he could exercise his office. 

As considerable misunderstanding appears to exist among non-catholics with regard to the 
spiritual authority of the Popes in England before the Reformation, it may be stated here that 
the occupant of the Holy See was regarded in this country as elsewhere, as (r) the Successor of 
St Peter and visible Head of Christ’s Church on earth ; (2) the Supreme Judge of all religions 
controversies, and of all ecclesiastical hws ; (3) the source of all ecdesiastical discipline. Hence 
the Pope conferred the Pall on Archbishops, and the Bulls of Consecration on all Bishops-elect, 
erected, modified or suppressed Sees, Orders, and other religious institutions. 

* “ The Royal Supremacy was not at the time of the Convocation regarded as inconsistent 
vrith the legitimate claims of the Papacy.” Dean Hook : Lhei of the Archbishops of Canterbury, 
vol. vi., p. 424.. See also F. W. Maitland’s Roman Canon Lets in the Church of England 
(Methuen U Co., London, 1898). 



298 ST JOHN FISHER [June 22 

Bishop Fisher celebrated his last Easter Sunday at his Cathedral in 
April, 1533. Shortly afterwards, he was summoned to London to “ Swear 
to the Succession ” i.e.y to acknowledge the lawfulness of the offspring of 
Henry and Anne Boleyn as heir to the Throne. Sir Thomas More and 
many others had seen no difficulty about that, and Fisher, too, was quite 
prepared to accede to this part of the royal demand, but the Oath, as settled 
by Parliament, involved an acknowledgment of the King as Supreme 
Head over the English Church. Like Sir Thomas, Fisher refused to 
subscribe to the proposed declaration, and was committed to the Tower 
(i6th April). He was deprived of his books, and being in fast failing 
health, must have died from sheer want, had not his brother Robert and 
the good Italian merchant, Antonio Bonvisi, the friend both of himself 
and the Ex-Chancellor, supplied the holy old Bishop with various neces- 
saries. He daily prepared himself for the death which he now knew to 
be imminent, but lost nothing of his dry humour, and was even able to 
write some religious treatises such as the Spiritual Consolation^ and The 
Necessity of Prayer — ^works highly valued ever since for their excellent 
matter, the character of the author, and the tragic conditions under which 
they were composed. On 7th May, 1535, Cromwell, the Royal Vicar- 
General, visited him in his cell, and read both the Act of Supremacy passed 
the previous November definitely conferring on the King the Supreme 
Headship of the Church, and another Act making denial of that claim 
“ Treason.” The brave Bishop again refused his assent, and from that 
hour his doom was sealed. 

Fifteen days later. Pope Paul III in the creation of Cardinals at the 
Consistory just after his accession, nominated Fisher Cardinal Priest of 
the Church of St Vitalis. Though this act was no doubt to honour Fisher’s 
illustrious holiness, learning and zeal, there can be little question that it 
was also intended to save the venerable captive from his impending fate. 

It was thought not only at Rome, but generally abroad, that Henry, 
even if the affection for his old friend and monitor was now turned to 
violent hate, would never dare to slay a Cardinal Prince of the Church, 
one of the august counsellors of the Pope, and the titular “ Cousin ” of 
every sovereign in Europe! The world had yet to learn the length of 
the English King’s barbarity and vengeance 1 “ Paul may send him the 

hat, I will see that he never hath a head to wear it on ! ” — So popular 
report soon tersely paraphrased the outburst of the Tudor Nero on hearing 
the news of his intended victim’s promotion to the purple robes of empire 
and of martyrdom.^ 

1 The actual words of Henrj were : “ Well, let the Pope send him a hat when he will, but 
I shall so provide that whensoever it cometh, he shall wear it on his shoulders, for head shall he 
have none to set it on.” 



June 22] ST JOHN FISHER ‘ 299 

Fisher had already been deprived of his See and title — as far as the 
State could effect this end, and so his trial on 17th June, 1535, took place 
at Westminster Hall, as in the case of a commoner of distinction.^ 

The Chancellor, Lord Audley, presided. The point of the long in- 
dictment was that the accused had said that “ The King our Sovereign 
Lord, is not Supreme Head on earth of the Church of England.” The 
jury, as in the case of the Carthusian Priors, were terrorized into giving a 
verdict against the illustrious prisoner, and amidst the tears even of some 
of the judges and of course of most of the spectators, the venerable Bishop 
received — though unmoved — the traitor’s doom. 

The horrible sentence was changed into the more dignified and 
expeditious one of beheading, not so much out of mercy as from the fact 
that the mere dragging to Tyburn on a hurdle would have certainly caused 
the aged prelate’s death on the way. The five days that elapsed between 
condemnation and execution, were spent by Fisher prayerfully as usual, but 
with no apparent additional preparation for his fate. Death had so long 
been a vivid reality with him, that he required no special course of 
exercises to enable him to meet it with resignation. When awakened by 
the Lieutenant of the Tower on the morning of the fatal day, 22nd June, 
and informed that he was to die about nine o’clock, he quietly observed : 

” Let me, by your patience, sleep an hour or two, for I have slept very little 
this night, and yet to tell you the truth not for any fear of death, I thank 
God, but by reason of my great infirmity and weakness.” That weakness 
indeed was so obvious that the Cardinal had to be carried in a chair part 
of the way to the scaffold on Tower Hill. Before reaching the steps, 
Fisher opened the New Testament he had in his hand, and read at random 
these words : “ Haec est autem vita aeterna; ut cognoscant Te, Solum 
Deum verum, et quern misisti Jesum Christum. Ego Te clarificavi super 
terram; opus consummavi, quod dedisti mihi ut faciam. Et nunc 
clarifica me Tu, Pater, apud temetipsum claritate quam habui ” etc. (S/ 
John xvii, 3.4). He spoke with wonderful strength and clearness to the 
assembled crowd, reminding the people that he had come thither “ to die 
for the faith of Christ’s Holy Catholic Church,” ending by praying that 
Almighty God of His infinite goodness might ” save the King and this 

1 The spiritual peers have never claimed the right to be tried as peers, since the ancient 
“ Benefit of Clergy ” {Prhitegium Fort), entitled them to be tried by the Ecclesiastical Courts. 
When Cranmer was arraigned, in 1553, for treason in the affair of Lady Jane Grey, he claimed 
a jury and not a trial before the Lords, and since then the privilege has never been put forward. 

The right of peers to trial by the House of Lords in all cases of treason and felony, first occurs 
in Magna Charta, in the clause yttdicium Parititn. The Lord High-Steward presides as judge on 
these occasions, and the peers form the jury. They give their verdict singly and upon their 
honour, the issue being decided by the majority. See E. W . Ridges : Constitjttionol Law 0/ 
England. (Stevens & Sons, London, 1905.) 



300 


ST JOHN FISHER [June 22 

realm,” and “ that it may please Him to hold His holy hand over it and 
send the King good counsel.” One blow of the axe sufficed to sever the 
slender neck of the holy and heroic protagonist of the Petrine claims, 
whose venerable body was allowed to remain all day on the scaffold, 
literally weltering in the blood that poured forth in great abundance. 
Towards night, two soldiers carried the corpse on their halberds to All 
Hallows Church, Barking, and having dug a rough grave, tumbled the 
body of the holy martyr into it, without prayer or ceremony. The 
sacred remains were subsequently reinterred in the Chapel of St Peter 
ad Vincula in the Tower, while the head was placed on a spike on London 
Bridge. This sacred relic was afterwards removed owing to the veneration 
paid to it by the people, and all trace of its later history has unfortunately 
been lost. 

The murder of this “ divine prelate,” as Erasmus termed Fisher, 
literally staggered all Europe, Pope Paul III, in a letter to Francis I of 
France, told that monarch ” that he is compelled by the unanimous solicita- 
tions of the Cardinals to declare Henry deprived of his kingdom and royal 
dignity.” {betters and Papers Henry Fill, vo\. viii, No, 1117.) Nothing 
however was done in the matter, the English King being left to the 
execrations of courts and scholars and the dark reflections of his own 
depraved mind. Among the many Lives of the Martyr that have appeared, 
may be mentioned the memoir by Richard Hall of Christ’s College, 
Cambridge, published by Thomas Bailey, 1665, Another by Rev. John 
Lewis in 2 vols. appeared in 1 8 55. The latest Life by the Rev. T. E. 
Bridgett, C.S.S.R., 1888, is replete with new material, and in consequence 
throws much light on various phases of the great Cardinal’s history, 
hitherto obscure. 

The few names that have been mentioned of Cardinal Fisher’s works, 
do not exhaust the literary output of his pen. His collected writings 
were published in 1597, by Fleischmann of Wiirzburg, in one folio 
volume. This edition includes the Assertio Septem Sacramentorum of 
Henry VIII against Luther, but there is no reason to deprive the King 
of the chief glory of that renowned treatise, though it is quite likely that 
Fisher gave assistance in the way of general advice, suggestions as to 
sources of information, etc. The memory of the glorious example of its 
martyred Bishop lived long in Rochester and its vicinity. During the 
years I 57 i" 74 > when, owing to the pressure of the Elizabethan 
Government and its Genevan agents, Protestantism of the most extreme 
type was being actively enforced all over the land, it was reported that 
in the diocese of Rochester “ popish gear was reser\^ed in private houses, 
popish prayer-books were used, people ran from place to place under 
pretence of an ‘ hypocritical Romish conscience, papist idolaters, invokers 



June 26] FOUR SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ARRAS 301 

of saints departed, defenders of false doctrines, men’s merits, holy water; 
holy bread and of Romish pardon,’ were abroad.” ^ Finally, it may be 
remarked, the holy Cardinal was Beatified, together with fifty-four of the 
other English Martyrs, by Leo XIII, on 29th December, 1886. He was 
canonized with the Blessed Thomas More, by Pope Pius XI, 19th May, 
1935, amidst the rejoicings of the whole Catholic world which had long 
acclaimed this noble pair as the leaders of that heroic band which in the 
hour of trial cheerfully laid down their lives in witness to the divine 
authority of Peter’s Keys. 


JUNE 26 

THE FOUR SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ARRAS, 
BLESSED, MARTYRS 
(1794) 

Even when the reign of Terror in France was at his height, the Sisters 
of Charity at Arras still continued their noble work of devotion and mercy 
among the sick and poor of the town, where as in all other quarters, they 
were deeply venerated by all classes of the community. After the 
. persecution against the Church and the religious Orders became acute, 
Sister Madeleine Fontaine, the Superioress, or “ Sceur Servante ” of the 
Convent-*— as St Vincent wished the head of each house to be styled — sent 
two of the younger sisters for safety into Belgium, while she herself 
together with Sceurs Marie Lavel, Th^rese Fanton and Jeanne Gerard, 
the older members of the Community, nobly remained behind at their 
posts. The good sisters, of course, had much to suffer before the climax 
came, for they were deprived of Mass and Sacraments, shut off from the 
Mother House, and harassed in various ways by the Republican fanatics. 
To placate the Jacobin despots, the nuns laid aside their characteristic 
white Cornettes, and in fact made every concession that did not involve 
a sacrifice of principle. After some weeks, the little community was called 
upon to take the Oath of “ Liberte, Egalit6 et Confraternity,” which of 
course was different from the Civil Oath of the Clergy already condemned 
as schismatical by the reigning Pontiff, Pius VI. The Liberty, etc., Oath, 
however, had been condemned by many of the French bishops, as it had at 
that time a distinctly erroneous significance — i.e., one implying a denial of 
ecclesiastical authority. The fo\ir sisters bravely refused the Oath, and on 
1 5th February, 1794, they were arrested. The awful work of the “ Terror ” 
was then in full progress at Arras under the direction of the “ Citizen 

* Rochester MSS. ri8, (2) f. 128 c (14, 19). 



302 


FOUR SISTERS OF CHARITY OF ARRAS [June 26 

Joseph. Lebon, an apostate priest, who soon filled the jails with persons 
of every class, many of whom were sent to the guillotine without any 
kind of trial. A vile woman named Mimi, the so-called wife of Lebon, 
took a leading part in all the local atrocities that were committed by him 
and the other Jacobin fiends in power. For hours in succession this 
dreadful hag used to sit watching the executions from a balcony, all the 
time gloating over the wretched victims as they were hurried to the 
scaffold ! 

During the four months that the Sisters of Charity remained in prison 
at Arras, they exercised a very happy influence over all the inmates by 
their cheerfulness and resolute determination not to be appalled by the 
terrors of the situation. In May, 1794 , Lebon and his myrmidons 
removed the guillotine to Cambrai, where the bells were ordered to be 
rung to celebrate the coming of the “ Red Widow ” into the town 1 At 
the same time the children of the schools were forced to witness “ the 
fall of the apricots ! ” as the horrible Mimi described the daily executions, 
or murders rather, which in Arras alone, exceeded two thousand 1 ^ 

On 25 th June orders came to Arras for the transfer of the four 
Sisters of Charity to Cambrai. The Sisters, though they knew that this 
“ arrSt ” was nothing less than a summons to death, were very cheerful. 
With an inspiration that seems to have been supernatural, Sceur Fontaine, 
the Superior, bade the rest of the prisoners be of good heart, for that 
theirs — ^the Sisters — ^would be “ the last blood shed 1 ” This reassuring 
belief they repeated again to some other prisoners they met on the road. 
Upon arriving at the Court, the Sisters were required to take the obnoxious 
Oath, but at once they replied, “ Our conscience forbids us to take it ! ” 
Sentence of death was at once passed, and the four went straight from 
the hall of Jacobin “ justice ” to the scaffold. It was market-day — for folk 
will buy and sell, in spite of revolutions and ever present tragedy !— and 
amidst the crowds and the sunshine, these heroic spiritual daughters of 
St Vincent passed to their death as blithe as chaffinches — “ gaies comme 
des pinsons ! ” The spirit of Sir Thomas More must surely have smiled 
approval at such a scene, so like the one that gained for him also the crown 
of martyrdom. Standing erect on the bloody scaffold, the valiant Mother 
Superior while waiting her turn to suffer, cried out with a loud voice to 
the crowd : “ Christians, listen to me ! We are the last victims 1 The 
persecution will cease and the altars of Jesus will be restored I ” It was 
a true prophecy 1 That same night the infamous Lebon, while in the very 
act of making out fresh lists of victims, was summoned to Pans on some 

^ ALson : History of Europe, iv., chap. xv. The bloodthirsty ffaiy of the Jacobins spread to 
their children in many cases. A favourite ** toy ” of this horrible period was a small model 
guillotine with which these little darlings amused themselves decapitating mire and birds ! 



June 28] BLESSED JOHN SOUTHWORTH 303 

business of the Terrorists, and although he came back to Cambrai, it was 
after the fall of Robespierre, and the consequent end of the deluge of blood, 
which for a year had re-enacted all over unhappy France horrors exceeding 
in extent and atrocity those even of the ancient proscriptions of Marius 
and Sulla 1 The four Sisters of Charity, whose noble lives and heroic 
deaths are among the brightest glories of the French Church, were 
Beatified by Benedict XV, 13th June, 1920.^ 

JUNE 28 

SOUTHWORTH, THE BLESSED JOHN, PRIEST, MARTYR 
(1592-1654). Beatified Dec. 15, 1929. 

Great interest attaches to this venerable sufferer for the Faith by reason 
of the fact that very recently (December, 1927), his sacred remains 
were translated from Douay to England for (temporary) reinterment 
at St Edmund’s College, Ware, which shares with Ushaw the honour 
of being the representative of Cardinal Allen’s famous Foundation. 

John Southworth was the son of a member of the junior branch of the 
Sovithworths of Samlesbury Hall, Blackburn. The estate, which came 
to the family in the fourteenth century, was at the time of the martyr’s 
birth, very much reduced owing, to the heavy fines and other exactions of 
the Recusancy Laws. John Southworth, the Martyr, the subject of these 
remarks, was born in 1592. Under the name of Lee, he was admitted 
into Douay College, July, 1613, and was ordained priest. Holy Saturday, 
1618, and on the 28th of June of the following year, he left the College 
to enter the Benedictines at Douay. He apparently did not remain, for on 
13th December, 1619, he received faculties from the President of the 
English College and left for the Mission.® He paid a visit to his Alma 
Mater in March, 1624, and in July of that year went to Brussels where 
he acted as Chaplain for a time to the Benedictine nuns there (Douay Diaries, 
vols. X and sx passim, Cath. Rec. Society). His native Lancashire, however, 
was the chief scene of his labours, and there he was arrested, and in 1627 
sentenced to death for being a priest. As Charles I was on the Throne 
and the Queen, Henrietta Maria, was a zealous Catholic, such sentences 
at that time were usually followed by reprieves. It was so in this case, 
though Mr Southworth was not released but kept a prisoner in Lancaster 
Castle until transferred to the Clink Prison, London. 

* Justice swiftly overtook the infamous Lebon, who was arrested the following August, and 
after a very prolonged trial, guillotined, October 15, 1794. The sprightly Duchess of Abrantes 
in her Memoirs (vol. vii., pp. 213-14) states that this monster had once been noted for his gentle- 
ness and urbanity ! but had been ruined in character by Robespierre. 

* There is no commemoration of the BI. J. Southworth in The Benedictine Almanac and 
Guide, 1928 (Catholic Records Press, Exeter). The Martyr was among the number (136) of 
those declared Blessed by Pope Pius XI, December ij, I 9 ^ 9 - 



304 


BLESSED JOHN SOUTHWORTH [June 28 

In April, 1630, he was with fifteen other priests, prisoners, liberated 
at the intercession of the Queen, and sent to the French Ambassador, 
the Count de Chasteauneuf for passage to France. If he went abroad, as 
Bishop Challoner remarks, he was soon back again, and also soon again 
in the Clink Prison, but this time with leave to go at large under surety. 
He was again released under the warrant of Sir Francis Windebank, 
Secretary of State, who was well affected to the Faith, in which he died 
(1646). 

After his enlargement, Mr Southworth lived in Clerkenwell, but 
during the ravages of the plague in London in 1636, he and another 
“ popish priest ” were indefatigable in ministering to the sick in West- 
minster. They were complained against by the Rev. Robert White, 
sub-curate of St Margaret’s, in a petition to Archbishop Laud. Mr 
Southworth was chiefly remarked upon for going into the houses under 
the pretence of delivering alms, but really “ to seduce ” the people. In 
this way one Wm. Baldwin, then on his death-bed, had been reconciled 
to the Church of Rome, as also a Wm. Stiles. 

As long as the royal authority lasted, Mr Southworth and other priests 
were tolerably secure, but the Civil War of course brought about a great 
change for the worse. The very fact that all the Catholic nobility and 
gentry were actively supporting the King in arms, was enough to arouse 
Puritan fanaticism and the clamour for the execution of the penal laws. 
The arrest of Mr Southworth apparently took place in 1654, and at night, 
for he is said to have been taken in his bed, and at the instance of a 
pursuivant named Jeffries. 

Though Mr Southworth had been convicted before, and was therefore 
liable, it seems, to all the penalties of treason, he was not sentenced 
forthwith, but put on his trial again at The Old Bailey, for his priesthood. 
The judges were very favourable to the accused, and as Bishop Challoner 
says, “ they did the utmost to preserve his life, and to prevent the execution 
against him of these laws upon which he stood indicted.” This attitude 
was the beginning of that kindly spirit in the judiciary of this country as 
far as Catholic priests were concerned, which in the succeeding century 
reached its height in the amiable Lord Chief-Justice Mansfield, the friend 
of Pope. Their Lordships pressed him to plead “ Not Guilty ” to the 
indictment charging him with treason, which he would not deny, as he 
thought, though no doubt erroneously, that such a denial would be a sort 
of abjuring of the Catholic religion. This being so, the judges could do 
no more, and the jury in the then state of the law, had no other alternative 
than to return a verdict of guilty. On the a8th of the month (June, 1 654), 
the old priest was taken to Tyburn, and though the day, as a cynic might 
say, was a typical English June one, both wet and stormy, great numbers 



June 28] BLESSED JOHN SOUTHWORTH 305 

of persons, including many of the quality in coaches, went to the place of 
execution. The “ last speech ” of the condemned strikes one as being 
very opportune, for it was a direct reminder to the Government of the 
Commonwealth that it was now putting into force that very principle of 
religious persecution which had been one of the chief grievances of its 
supporters in the late reign. 

With the good Father were also put to death five coiners. The 
Martyr’s body was delivered to a member of the Duke of Norfolk’s 
•family, and by him transmitted to Douay for burial.^ The remains 
of the holy priest . were interred near the altar of St Augustine 
in the Chapel of the English College, Douay, where it was venerated up 
to tire time of the French Revolution. The States-General opened its 
momentous Session in May 1789, but it was not till 1791 that the outlook 
in France began to be really menacing. When war broke out between 
the Jacobin Government and England after the execution of Louis XVI, in 
January, I 793 j ^ mob of “ Citizens ” invaded the College and plundered 
it of its books, MSS., and furniture. The valuable silver plate, much of it 
the gift at various times of the old Catholic families, was buried and so 
remained till May 1863, when Monsignor Searle received permission from 
Napoleon III to search for it. The recovered articles were divided between 
Ushaw and St Edmund’s College. With the chalices, flagons, loving- 
cups, salvers, etc., was buried, though not in the same place, the body 
of the holy Martyr, Fr. John Southworth. About the middle of 1926, the 
old buildings of Douay College, which had been used for various purposes 
since 1793, were sold to the Municipal authorities and pulled down to 
make way for building plots. During the excavations, the workmen 
lighted upon a leaden coffin, which when broken into, was found to contain 
a body wrapped in linen. Near it was a box from which were taken what 
proved to be the hair-shirt of St Thomas of Canterbury and the scarlet 
biretta of St Charles Borromeo. Unfortunately the hair-shirt was thrown 
away, but the biretta was retained. As soon as the news of the discovery 
reached England, the Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster and his 
advisers took steps to recover the Martyr’s body. The negotiation's with 
the French Authorities resulted in the holy remains being transferred 
to England under the care of the Rev. Albert Purdie, O.B.E. The special 
chest made to contain the body was decorated with red and yellow ribbons, 
the colours of the Municipality of Douay, and upon its arrival at Dover 

^ Contrary to a general opinion, the drawing and quartering did follow the hanging in 
this case. The Cardinal-Archbishop of Westminster writes : “ The medical examination of 
the body of the Venerable John Southworth, recently providentially restored to our reverent 
keeping, furnishes proof that is palpable of the awful butchery to which our martyrs were 
subjected by the will and decree of Elizabeth and her counsellors and their successors. 
"Elizabethan Continuity” (Cath. Truth Society). 

U 



BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 


306 


[JVLYI 


from Calais, the hearse was conveyed to St Edmund’s College, Ware, by road. 
At 10 o’clock at night, on Tuesday, 20th December, the venerable body was 
received at the College. Finally, the sacred reliquiae of the martyr were, at 
the end of April, 1930, removed from their temporary resting-place to the 
Westminster Cathedral, and on Thursday, May i, of that year, deposited 
in the Chapel of St George, the imposing function being presided over by 
His Eminence Cardinal Bourne, Archbishop of Westminster, attended by 
many bishops and priests, and a very large assemblage of the laity. 

JULY I 

PLUNKETT, THE BLESSED OLIVER, ARCHBISHOP 
OF ARMAGH, MARTYRS 
(1629-1681) 

In his exhaustive Life of the Blessed Oliver Plunkett, the late Cardinal 
Moran, Archbishop of Sydney, has done very much to fill up the lacuna 
and throw light upon the obscure phases in the history of this, one of the 
most illustrious victims of the Oates Conspiracy against justice and truth, 
which darkened the concluding years of Charles the Second’s reign. It is 
certainly strange that the name of the father of the martyred Archbishop is 
“ nowhere mentioned.” For unlike very many of the clergy of Ireland, 
France and some other countries since the Reformation, Oliver Plunkett was 
not a son of the people, being nearly related on the paternal side to that 
Christopher Plunkett, Second Earl of Fingall, who, amidst the dissensions 
which ruined the Catholic Restoration Scheme of the ” Provisional 
Government ” of the Old Irish and Anglo-Irish parties in 1 642, had held 
the office of Commissioner for the.purpose of “ Conferring with all parties 
in Arms.” On his mother’s side. Dr Plunkett was closely connected with 
the Dillons, Earls of Roscommon. He studied, as a boy, the classics 
under the Hon. and Rev. Patrick Plunkett, brother of Lord Fingall, and 
subsequently Bishop successively of Ardagh and Meath. At the age of 
sixteen, Mr Oliver Plunkett was one of five youths who went to Rome in the 
Suite of the Papal Envoy, the Oratorian Fr. Peter Francis Scarampi, who, 
during his two years in Ireland (1643—45), had never ceased to urge on the 
Confederates two points — {a) union among themselves, {F) a continuation of 
the war with the English Government until complete toleration was obtained. 

On their way back to Italy via Bel^um from Galway, the Envoy and 
his party were very nearly captured at sea, but whether by the ships of 
the Parliament then at war with the King, or by the Algerine pirates, 
who at that time swarmed around the south coasts of England and Ireland, 
is not certain. Having escaped the sea-rovers, the travellers after landing 

^ The name is often spelt Plunhet. The spelling adopted in Cardinal Moran’s Life of the 
Martjr, has been followed here. — Juthcr, 



July i] BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 307 

in the Low Countries were held to ransom by a set of bandits in 
Flanders — ^which owing to the demoralization of the Thirty Years War 
then still raging, was full of roaming troops of ill-disciplined soldiers and 
bands of outlaws — but a nameless benefactor paid the required ransom, 
and the much adventured wayfarers were able to proceed. 

After arriving at Rome, Mr Plunkett being deemed too young for 
philosophy, did ayear’s further study of the classics under Professor Dandoni. 
He then entered the Irish, or as it was generally styled the Collegeo 
Ludovisi 1 from the munificent Cardinal nephew of Gregory XV, who had 
richly endowed it with an income and a country house at Castel Gandolfo. 

As a student, young Plunkett did extremely well, especially in 
mathematics and philosophy. He later followed the Canon Law lectures 
of Dr Mark Anthony Mariscotti at the Sapienza University, and having 
completed the full eight years course of theological studies, was ordained 
in 1654. For fifteen years longer, he continued to reside in Rome among 
the Oratorian Fathers at San Girolamo della Carita, of which his friend 
Fr. Francis Scarampi was Superior. He also became intimate with Don 
Benedetto Odescalchi, brother of the Cardinal who, in 1676, succeeded 
to the Papal Throne as Innocent XI. Dr Plunkett also filled for twelve 
years the post of lecturer on Controversial and Moral Theology, at the 
College of the Propaganda. In 1669, he was appointed the agent of the 
Irish Bishops in Rome, but already the burning question of an Arch- 
bishop for the vacant Archdiocese of Armagh was calling for a settlement. 
In May of that year (1669), Dr Talbot, Archbishop of Dublin, wrote to 
the Cardinal-Prefect of Propaganda the following : “As no part of 
Ireland stands so much in need of a proper pastor and primate as the 
Province of Armagh, in which the clergy are split into factions giving 
occasion of great scandal not only to the Irish Catholics', but also to the 
English and Scotch Protestants, who are very numerous in Ulster, I 
cannot delay acquainting your Eminence with the necessity of promptly 
nominating an Archbishop for Armagh.” The names of Drs Nugent 
and Everard were proposed and much discussion ensued, when the Pope 
(Clement IX) cut the matter short by saying : “ Why delay in discussing 
the dubious merits of others while we have here in Rome a native of that 
Isle whose merits are known to us all . . . let Dr Oliver Plunkett be 
Archbishop of Armagh.” Though he ardently desired to be consecrated 
in Rome, it was deemed more prudent — so as not to cause offence to the 

^ The Irish or “Lodovisian ” College, opened on ist January, 1629, under the rectorship 
of Eugene Callanan, Archdeacon of Cashel. Cardinal Ludovisi died 1632. The villa of Ae 
family at Rome afterwards passed to the House of Buoncompagni, the heirs of the Ludovisi. 
Among its priceless art treasures are the colossal head of Juno and the bronze bust of Julius Csesar, 
the latter considered one of the best likenesses of that illustrious warrior-statesman. 



BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 


308 


[July i 


English Government — that the Archbishop-designate should receive 
that rite in Belgium, and accordingly the Primate of All Ireland was 
consecrated by the Bishop of Ghent in his domestic Chapel, on 30th 
November, St Andrew’s Day, 1669. Dr French, Bishop of Ferns, being 
one of the assisting prelates. It is said that before Dr Plunkett left Rome, 
a Saintly Polish Priest, Fr. Jerome Mieskow, Prior of the Hospital of 
Santo Spirito, remarked to him : “ My Lord, you are now going to shed 
your blood for the Catholic Faith I ” 

Upon arriving in London, the Archbishop was entertained by Fr. 
Philip Howard — later Cardinal — Chaplain to the Queen, Catharine of 
Braganza, and after an adventurous journey owing to bad weather and 
worse roads, his Lordship arrived in Dublin, the end of February, 1670. 
His near relatives. Sir Nicholas Plunkett and the Earl of Fingall received 
him with great hospitality. In March following, the Archbishop took 
formal possession of his See. His arrival almost synchronized with that 
of the new Viceroy, Lord Berkeley, a nobleman quite friendly to the 
Catholics. His Lordship himself wrote to several of the clergy advising 
them to show great prudence and to keep out of political affairs as much 
as possible, and assuring them of “ every protection.” 

Writing a little later to the Pope, Clement X, Dr Plunkett was able to 
assure his Holiness that the Catholics of Ireland “ enjoy great liberty and 
ease,” and that “ ecclesiastics may be publicly known, and are permitted 
to exercise their functions without any impediment.” As a proof of this, 
may be cited the Jesuit College at Dundalk, where a hundred and sixty 
boys of the higher class both Catholic and Protestant, were being educated. 
The new Archbishop was indefatigable. He presided over the general 
Synod of the Irish Bishops in Dublin (June 1 670), held a provincial Council 
at Clones, and caused schools under the Jesuit Fathers to be opened in 
his own diocese. He traversed the province regardless of hail, snow and 
rain, visiting the faithful, and confirming in woods and on the hillside. 
But the ” Golden Age” was fast drawing to a clcsel In 1672, Arthur 
Capel, Earl of Essex, succeeded Lord Berkeley as Viceroy, and persecution 
began to sweep away the material part of the good that had been effected. 
The schools were closed, and Dr Plunkett and the other bishops had 
literally to “ take to the woods ! ” Indeed, the bishops were ordered 
by command to leave the kingdom, which of course meant that henceforth 
their Lordships must remain concealed and administer only by stealth. 
Dr Plunkett and his companion. Dr Brennan, Bishop of Waterford, 
sxiffered great hardships with the rest. “ I sometimes find it difficult 
to procure even oaten bread,” wrote the Archbishop about this time, 
“ and the house where I and Dr Brennan are, is of straw and covered or 
thatched in siich a manner that from our bed we can see the stars, and 



BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 


309 


July i] 

at the head of our bed every slightest shower refreshes us, hut we are 
resolved rather to die from hunger and cold than to abandon our flotks.” 

Things continued in that state for several years, but matters became 
much worse in 1678, the period of the commencement of the “Popish 
Plot.” The secret efforts then being made by the Catholic body in England 
to obtain toleration-efforts which were not always of the most prudent 
kind, as the evidence at Edward Coleman’s trial revealed — were taken up 
by Titus Oates and his rivals in perjury, Carstairs and Bedloe, and 
twisted into a dreadful story turning on the proposed invasion of the 
Kingdom by a Popish Army, i.e., that of Louis XIV, the filling of all 
the offices of the State with papists and crowned by the murder of the 
King 1 The “ Plot ” was at once, adopted — if it had not been actually 
engineered — by Lord Shaftesbury, Dryden’s “false, dark Achitophel,” as 
a weapon against the Duke of York and the Court, and the blood-stained 
furore began. The trials, judicial murders and proscriptions which 
marked its course in England need not be followed here, but in October, 
1678, another order banishing all Catholic bishops and other ecclesiastics 
and religious from Ireland was issued, and it also commanded the instant 
suppression of all seminaries, schools and religious houses. The Catholic 
Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Talbot, was arrested, and by 1679, 
Plunkett was a fugitive, hotly pursued by spies and soldiers, “ night and 
day,” as be described It lu a letter to Rome. He bid for a wblle m a looely 
spot not far from the Giant’s Causeway, and was also kindly sheltered 
by a Protestant family at Faughart, near Dundalk, but coming to Dublin 
to attend his cousin, Bishop Patrick Plunkett of Meath, who was dying, 
he was at length arrested on 6th December, 1679. 

Part of the Viceregal policy had been to sow dissensions among 
Catholics by taking the part of discontented lay people and priests, especially 
those scandalous ecclesiastics who had been suspended and cast forth for 
their crimes and immoralities. Such Judases flourish everywhere, 
notably in times of persecution, when there is everything to lose tem- 
porarily by resisting, and so tnuch mundane profit to be gained by playing 
into the hands of the enemy. There were at this time three wretched 
creatures of the sort, John MacMoyer, Franciscan, unfrocked for violence, 
drunkenness and scandalous living, generally, an apostate friar, 
Anthony Daly, then turned robber, and Edmund Murphy, a suspended 
secular priest. These worthies now hastened to London and to the willing 
ear of Shaftesbury described how Dr Plunkett was deep in a conspiracy 
to transport seventy thousand French troops to Ireland and renew the 
massacre of 1641 1 Orders were sent over to Dublin to bring the Arch- 
bishop to trial before an entirely Protestant jury. The Duke of Ormonde, 
the Viceroy, fixed the hearing at Dundalk, in Plunkett’s diocese, which 



310 


BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 


(July i 

was an advantage to the prisoner who also received, as he himself states, 
" great courtesy ” from the Lord Lieutenant of the County. The case 
came on for trial on 23rd July, 1680, but none of the three infamous 
witnesses already named, dared to appear. It is quite likely that at least 
one of them, Edmund Murphy, had he come forward, would have been 
ordered into custody by the grand jury and no doubt a little later hanged 1 
In view of all this, the Archbishop should have been at once released, 
but instead of that, he was sent under guard to Dublin. His Lordship 
remained there till the end of October, when he was removed to London, 
still to take his trial on the old preposterous charge. By this time, his 
slender funds were nearly exhausted, and a sum oi £100 of his own which 
he seems to have received back from Sir Valentine Browne, could hot 
have greatly assisted him. So absurd did the charge against him appear, 
that the grand jury — though London was full of the “ No Popery ” 
spirit — refused to find a bill, which of itself ought to have brought about 
his discharge. But another panel proved more compliant, and, on 31st 
May, the Archbishop of Armagh was arraigned at The Old Bailey. No 
counsel was then allowed persons accused of treason or felony, except 
to advise on points of law, and Dr Plunkett, of course, had to conduct 
his own defence.^ He was allowed six weeks to get his evidence from 
Ireland, but contrary winds, difficulties of travel and wilful red-tape in 
Dublin frustrated this, and the necessary testimony did not arrive till 
three days after the Archbishop’s condemnation. 

The trial on 8th June, 1681, was one “at Bar,” i.e., before three 
judges, Chief-Justice Sir Francis Pemberton, and Justices Thos. Jones 
and Wm. Dolben. It is really amazing how Pemberton, who was an 
acute, learned and independent lawyer, could have even listened to the 
absurd accusation, and the patently untrue stories told in the witness- 
box by MacMoyer, and another perjurer, John Maclure, who took the 
place of the unhappy priest, Edmund Murphy. Murphy at the last 
minute was seized with remorse, refused to repeat his false accusations 
against the Archbishop, and was imprisoned in Newgate.^ Dr Plunkett 

1 Full defence by Counsel in cases of treason was granted by the Act of 1696, but in cases 
of felony not till 1836. 

* The infamous John MacMoyer was aided in his villainy by his cousin, Florence MacMoyer^ 
last keeper of the famous Book of Armagh, written in 807, and preserved from generation 
to generation in the MacMoyer Clan. Florence pledged this priceless volume for to pay 
his espenses to London, presumably to depose against the Archbishop. Even the foreman of the 
first grand^jury which refused to find a true bill against the right reverend prisoner, regarded this 
^ witn^ as a knave ! He was in fact kept in prison in London, and did not return to Ireland 
till about 1684. He died at Ballintate, Co. Armagh, an object of universal horror, X2th 
February, lyrS- The Clan MacMoyer were so disgusted by the villainies of this precious pair, 
John and Florence, that the members changed their name to MacGuire ! The Book of 
Armagh eventually came to Bishop Wm. Reeves, who sold it to Trinity College, Dublin, for fzoo. 



July i] BLESSED OLIVER PLUNKETT 31 1 

defended himself as best he could, but in die absence of his witnesses he 
was able to do little more than point out the absurdity of the whole story 
of the prosecution which solemnly alleged that he, a poor man, who could 
scarcely get £70 a year for his own support, was capable of raising and 
equipping an army of 70,000 men! Yet the jury after but quarter of 
an hour, returned a verdict of guilty. After receiving sentence of death, 
the Archbishop was visited in prison by great numbers of persons, both 
Catholic and Protestant, and all were impressed by his holiness and obvious 
innocence. Though Charles had shown much firmness both in resisting 
the Exclusion Bill for ousting his brother from the succession, and in 
dissolving the Parliament at Oxford, he dared not now, as he angrily told 
Lord Essex, “ pardon anyone 1 ” The cruel and degrading parts of the 
sentence, the disembowelling and quartering, were however remitted. 

The Archbishop when at Tyburn found the London Catholics there 
in force, a great act of moral courage in view of the fury aroused by “ The 
Plot ” and the terror caused by the martyrdoms still in progress. His 
Lordship gave the true version of his accusation and condemnation, and 
then having repeated the Miserere met Deus and other prayers, submitted 
to his unjust death. As in the case of the Blessed Viscount Stafford, 
who died the previous December, through the same infamous cause, the 
crowd around the scaffold is said to have testified its belief in the 
Archbishop’s innocence. While in prison. Dr Plunkett had been attended 
by Dom Maurus Corker, O.S.B., who did much to relieve those who 
were suffering for the Faith. The body of the Martyr was interred in 
St Giles in the Fields, but in 1684, Fr. Corker had it transferred to the 
English Benedictine Monastery of Lambspring in Bavaria. The Martyr’s 
head and forearms were given to Cardinal Howard in Rome, but in 172I5 
the head was obtained by Archbishop MacMahon of Armagh, and by 
him presented to the Dominican Convent, Drogheda, just opened under 
the care of Rev. Mother Catherine Plunkett, a relative of the martyred 
Archbishop. It is now preserved in the Blessed Oliver Plunkett Memorial 
Church in Drogheda. The Martyr’s body was transferred to Downside in 
1883, during the Priorship of Dr, later H. E. Cardinal Gasquet. Declared 
Venerable by Leo XIII in 1886, Archbishop Plunkett was Beatified by 
Benedict XV, a3rd May, 1920, and his name is held in veneration not 
only in Ireland but wherever English-speaking Catholics are to be found. 

[Cardinal Moran ; Memoir of Archbishop Plunkett, The late Mgr. 
O’Riordan’s articles in The Catholic Bulletin,, October, 1919 
— May, 1920, throw much light on the Martyr’s College 
career in Rome. See John O’Connell, LL.D : The Blessed 
Oliver Plunkett^ C.T.S., Ireland.] 



312 


ST THOMAS MORE 


[July 6 


JULY 6 

MORE, ST THOMAS, MARTYRS 
(1478-1535) 

It has been said that it was not until the beginning of the last century 
that English historians began to write sympathetically about the Maid 
of Orleans. But with respect to this, the best loved of all the English 
Martyrs, there does not seem to have ever been among our “ separated 
brethren ” a disposition to do anything else than to refer with admiration, 
and even affection, to the life of the great Lord Chancellor and victim 
of Henry VIIL Even the mordant Swift classed him as one of “A 
sextumvirate to which all tlie ages of the world cannot add a seventh 1 ” ^ 
The cosmopolitan and somewhat cynical circle of Holland House, re-echoed 
his praise as it came from the pen and occasionally the lips of his great 
biographer. Sir James Mackintosh. Macaulay and Cobbett regarded the 
Sage and Martyr of the Tudor reign of Terror as himself a powerful 
argument for Catholicism, as indeed he is, and his memory, like that of 
all which is great and unique, does but enhance with time. 

Sir Thomas More was born at Milk Street, Cheapside, London, on 
7th February, 1478, the only surviving son of Sir John More, after- 
wards one of the Judges of the King’s Bench. It is related that the mother 
of the future Chancellor saw before his birth a sort of vision of her 
illustrious son, bright with splendour! After a preliminary education at 
St Anthony’s School, Threadneedle Street, young More went as page of 
honour to Cardinal Morton, Archbishop of Canterbury, the Mazarin- 
like minister of Henry VII, and one of the builders of that Tudor 
despotism which was under the next reign to transform the largely free 
realm of England into a western Sultanate! Before More entered 
Canterbury College, Oxford (since merged into Christ Church), the 
“ Red Fox ” of Lambeth Palace had foretold the future distinction of his 
young servitor. At Oxford, More learned Greek from Thomas- Linacre — 
who in 1517 to found the College of Physicians. He also perfected 
himself in Latin, and soon wrote it in the best style of the fast rising 
“ Ciceronianism,” which was not the least of the literary achievements of the 
Renaissance. In 1494, More, according to a custom in vogue, entered 
New Inn as preliminary to becoming a student at Lincoln’s Inn two years 
later.® The young legal tyro studied hard, and followed all the “ moots ” 

> Declared Blessed by Leo XIII, December 29, 1886. 

* A Voyage to Lapata, ebap. vii., end. 

* New Inn was one of the “ ten lesser Inns ” of Chancery, which served as preparatory 
schools for the Inns of Court up to the end of the sixteenth century. Sir Thomas More, there- 
fore, must have been among the last of the great alumni of these institutions. New Inn was 




SAINT THOMAS MORE niaumcm 

HO.MAS MORE 

ChanceHor of England and one of the most holy and ieamed men of his time, St. Thomas iMorc 
le simple thinsrs of life, his family, his garden and his beautiful house at Chelsea. He renounced 
r the sake of truth. While he was prisoner in the Toner every effort was made by Henr)’’s men 
s courage, but Thomas remained staunch. Like St. John Fisher he, too, died a martyr’s death 

on Ton er Hill. 


ST THOMAS MORE 313 

which then formed part of the forensic curriculum and was called to the 
Bar before the usual time. He then lectured at Furnival’s Inn and so 
satisfactorily, that he was requested to do so for three years in succession. 

The young barrister seems about this time to have passed through a 
trying experience spiritually, for he seriously thought of relinquishing his 
profession and becoming a Carthusian. He spent much of his vacation 
time at the Charterhouse, then under the government of the Saintly Prior 
Tynbergh. The phase, however, passed, and, in 1505, he married Joan 
Coke, of Newhall, Essex, by which happy union he had three daughters 
and one son. Mrs More died in 1511, and very shortly after her death 
he married again, this time a widow lady, Alice Middleton, seven years 
older than himself, who, however, proved an excellent wife to him, and a 
kind stepmother to his young children. 

Meantime More was rapidly rising at the Bar, his practice soon 
brought him in about £^000 a year in present currency. He found time 
for visits to the Universities of Paris and Louvain, and for correspondence 
with European scholars like Erasmus, whose friendship he possessed for 
life. The great Dutchman dedicated to him his Morice Encomium ^Praise 
of Folly\ a satire on the ecclesiastical abuses of the day, and a sort of 
learned plsy on More’s own name and noted love of jesting. The serious 
side of More’s character, as far as public life was concerned, was shown 
in 1 504, when as Member of Parliament, he strenuously opposed a grant 
of £113,000 demanded by the King (Henry VII) for the marriage of his 
daughter Margaret with the King of Scots, James IV. As His Majesty’s 
treasury was literally bursting with millions, wrung or cajoled from his 
subjects in various ways, More’s opposition to this preposterous request 
was a fine piece of patriotism and it was happily successful. In 1515, 
More, now Sheriff of London, went to Flanders as representative of the 
City Merchants in a mercantile dispute with their Hanse towns brethren 
of the Steel-Yard. It was during this episode that he wrote his Uco/)ia, 
published in 1516. Though many of the notions represented in the 
ideal Republic are truly prophetic, much that its author described about 
religion and other matters must not be taken seriously. The work was 
originally in Latin and intended only for the learned and mature. It was 
translated into English by Raphe Robynson, 155^’ 

The year that saw the publication of Utopia, may be said to have ended 
More’s private, and to have commenced his official, life. He became 

also kno^vn as the “ Inn of Our Lady,” from her picture over the entrance. It was a very 
flourishing place, and was governed by a Treasurer and twelve Ancients, under the general 
superintendence of the Middle Temple- Like the adjoining "Wych Street, it was pulled down 
about 1900, by the County Council, for the widening of the Strand — an “ improvement” very 
dearly bought by the sacrifice of these two picturesque and historical “ bits ” of bygone London! 



ST THOMAS MORE 


314 


[July 6 


Master of Requests, /.r,, examiner of petitions to the King, and so had 
to attend the Royal Household everywhere. He accompanied the King to 
the gorgeous meeting of the Field of the Cloth of Gold, and next year 
became Under-Treasurer of England. In I 5 ^ 3 > chosen Speaker 

of the House of Commons, and again showed his courageous spirit by 
inducing the House, which still retained some sparks of independence, to 
reject a demand for more money for a war with France, though the requisi- 
tion was made by the imperious Wolsey in person. It was about this time, 
that Mr Speaker More moved from Crosby Hall in the City, to the pleasant 
rural suburb of Chelsea, where fields and orchards touched on the Thames, 
still at this point a sparkling river, and abounding in “ fat and sweet salmons ” 
and trout 1 ^ More’s home-life at Chelsea with his large family, by this 
time augmented by sons and daughters-in-law, has been often described, 
and we seem to view the happy scene, hear the discussions on Plato, Livy, 
and Cicero, smile at the repartee of the“ Fool ” — this latter a great favourite of 
More’s — not to mention the dry witticisms and Latin epigrams of the great 
man himself. The King often walked in without ceremony, and though His 
Majesty would stroll about the garden arm-in-arm with the wisest man in his 
kingdom. More knew, and once openly said, that if his head could win his 
sovereign one castle in France, " it should not fail to serve his turn! ” 
But learned and delightful as the circle at Chelsea was, it never sank 
to the mere dilettante level of Strawberry Hill. More, notwithstanding 
the immense labours of his ofiices at Court and as Speaker of the Commons, 
saw the dangers of the day, and prepared to grapple with them. The 
religious and civil confusion caused in Germany by the revolt of Luther — 
a confusion soon to be intensified by the further contradictions of Tyndale, 
Zwingli and a score of other “ Reformers,” brought him forth as a 
defender of the traditional Faith of Christendom. His Dialogue, which 
appeared in 1528, was an able apology against the innovators, while 
his Confulation — a reply to Tyndale-^ealt still more at large with 
the multifarious heresies which were so soon to undermine the faith of 
Europe and lay the foundation of much of the present unbelief. The 
charges of persecution brought against More have been efiEectively dealt 
with by his non-catholic biographers. Mackintosh, Dr Gairdner and 
Canon Dixon. He did indeed once cause a “ smutty ” urchin to be whipped 
exactly in the same way and for the same offence that such an offender 
would be flogged to-day in almost any of oxir public schools, and on 
another occasion he had a semi-crazy, but malignly-cunning man, lashed 
for a very grave offence in Church. The severe laws against heresy in 

* Harrison’s Description of England, 1 586, p. 46. The last salmon caught in the metropoh’tan 
part of the Thames (at London Bridge) was in 1730, though a salmon was found, apparent!/ 
stranded, in the Mill Pond, Bermondsej, in 1804 ! fee Memorials for the History of the Perish 
of Pstkerhithe, b/ the late Canon E. Josseljm Beck, M-A.., Rector. 



July 6 ] ST THOMAS MORE 

full force at that time were not of More’s making. Later on, as Chancellor, 
he had occasionally to administer them, but as hdr Hutton observes, 
“ he took especial pains — and for some time successfully — to avoid the 
infliction of the extreme penalty.”^ 

The clergy were not unmindful of More’s splendid services to 
orthodoxy, and “in the name of their Convocation ’’ they pressed upon 
him a handsome pecuniary gift, but Sir Thomas, though far from rich, 
declined — ^with the admirable disinterestedness ever characteristic of him — 
the proffered reward. 

The hateful question of the royal divorce was first sprung upon More 
by no less a personage than the King himself, with whom in fact the 
matter originated. In September, 1527, Sir Thomas was at Hampton 
Court with his Sovereign, when the latter showed him the passages in 
Leviticus and Deuteronomy against marriage with a brother’s widow. 
Though Henry urged the Counsellor whose word carried most weight 
in his dominions, to give an opinion in his — the King’s — favour. More, 
with the prudence that never failed him, declined to be rushed into 
a hasty judgment, but promised to go further into a matter which was 
already perplexing half the divines and scholars of the Kingdom.® 

The dismissal of Wolsey took place on 19th October, 1529, and three 
days later the Seals were pressed, or rather thrust, upon Sir Thomas. He 
cherished no illusions about his splendid preferment, coming as it did as 
a sort of awful contrast to the sudden and ominous fall of the great Lord 
Cardinal. As Lord High Chancellor, More opened the Parliament of the 
Spoliation on 3rd November following, and had also to announce later to 
the members the opinions of the foreign Universities on the divorce. 
How many, it is to be wondered, knew at that time of the wholesale 
corruption and even open violence that had been employed to obtain 
whatever judgments were favourable to that measure.? Both in Parliament 
and the Council, More strenuously, opposed the bill to abolish the Annates 
or first-fruits of great benefices to Rome, as also the proposed relaxation 
of the heresy laws by which measure the King hoped — not to favour 
Protestants whom he always burnt without mercy — but to embarrass still 
further and so weaken the authority of the Church. By May, 1532, the 
situation had become intolerable, and More resigned an exalted dignity 
which had been none of his seeking, and one which was now evidently 
intended to be used as an instrument to further the anti-catholic policy of 
the Crown. As Chancellor, Sir Thomas had dispensed, speedy and even- 

' Rev. W. H. Hutton : Sir Thomas More (1895). 

» The biblical prohibitions referred to, relate to marriages that have been consummated, which 
that of Catharine of Aragon and Prince Arthur Lad not. It was apparentlj on this ground 
that Julius II granted the dispensation. See Blessed John Fisher, June 22. 



ST THOMAS MORE 


316 


[July 6 


handed justice to rich and poor alike, and during his tenure of office 
had cleared off all the arrears of his Court. 

The sudden resignation of such a leading light as Sir Thomas, was 
felt by the King and his sycophants to be a severe and public censure on 
their whole conduct, and every expedient was now sought after to discredit 
the man who represented integrity, ability, and wisdom in the highest 
degree. Vile charges of corruption in his high office were, with amazing 
effrontery, brought against the upright judge, whose whole judicial conduct 
had been a shining example to his own and every future age, and one whose 
resignation of the Seals had actually left him — owing to loss of income and 
other emoluments — face to face almost with poverty itself 1 But the depths 
of depravity were reached when Sir Thomas was actually accused of having 
“ provoked the King ” to write the book on the Seven Sacraments! This 
was of course the famous work that had been Henry’s joy and pride till, 
like Solomon, his heart was corrupted by loose women — the epoch-making 
book which had won for him bis jealously-guarded title of “ Defender of 
the Faith ” \ More’s reply to the titled tools of tyranny, Cranmer, 
.Audley, Norfolk, and Cromwell, who had the temerity to upbraid 
him with his “ offence,” must have crushed even those servile 
abetters of insolent oppression. After reminding them that he had 
but revised the work in question and that, too, at the King’s special 
desire, he went on to observe that he had in fact reminded the Royal 
Author that the time might come when he (Henry) and the Pope 
might fall out over political considerations, and that even the Law of 
Praemunire might be in case. Whereupon the King exclaimed: ‘‘We 
are so much bounden to the See of Rome, that we cannot do too much 
honour to it! ” Foiled thus far in every direction, the foes of the Ex- 
Chancellor now sought to involve him in the Bill of Attainder that was 
being passed against the ‘‘ Holy Maid of Kent ” and her sympathizers. 
More had, it is true, interviewed ‘‘ the Maid,” but had expressed no opinion 
at the time as to her alleged prophecies, contenting himself with advising her 
not to meddle with politics. Sir Thomas now took the right and courageous 
course of demanding to address the House on his own behalf, but as 
nothing would have been worse for Henry than such a defence and from 
such a source, the tyrant reluctantly consented to remove the name of the 
man he now undoubtedly feared, from the murder-measure in course of 
being obsequiously passed by his puppets. Like Fisher, More had all 
along seen no insuperable objection to swearing to the succession of Anne 
Boleyn s offspring to the Throne. But when after the divorce of Catharine, 
and the adulterous marriage of the King, he was called upon not only to 
swear to the Succession, but to repudiate ‘‘ any foreign potentate,” Sir 
Thomas knew that the spiritual authority of the Apostolic See was noiY 



July 6] ST THOMAS MORE 317 

being aimed at, and he refused the Oath. EiForts were tried to make it 
appear that he had assented, but Sir Thomas rejected all compromise, 
and after four days detention with Benson, the schismatical Abbot of 
Westminster, he was lodged in the Tower. No stone was left unturned 
to break down the resolution of the illustrious captive. Even the pleading 
of his favourite daughter, Margaret, who had taken the Oath — “ as far as 
lawful ’’ — and that of his wife, could not force Sir Thomas into a violation 
of his conscience. In consequence of this, his family was despoiled of its 
property by the heartless tyrant, so that Lady More had actually to sell 
her personal belongings to maintain herself as well as her husband, whose 
prison fees were, as usual then, scandalously high. 

As many even of the servile Council were of opinion that the 
wording of the Succession Act did not remove the spiritual authority of 
the pope, a bill was passed through Parliament in 1534 abolishing the 
papal supremacy in England, and making it high treason to maintain the 
same. Then followed the Conferences of Cromwell, Audley, etc., with 
Sir Thomas, all designed to entangle him in his words, so as to make out 
a case for his trial and execution. On 12th June, 1535, Richard Rich, 
the Solicitor-General, and “ one of the most odious names in the history 
of the age I ” had the notorious conversation with More which he. Rich, 
afterwards perverted and so caused it to be used as the pretext of bringing 
the Ex-Chancellor to trial on ist July.^ More appeared in Westminster 
Hall prematurely old, worn, and grey, thanks to illness and the rigours 
of a long imprisonment, but despite all these and other disadvantages, 
made as might be expected, a most able defence. He denounced in 
withering words the miserable Rich as a perjurer, and when the pre- 
arranged verdict of guilty was pronounced, delivered that magnificent address 
to the Court, the burden of which was that he “had not read in any approved 
doctor of the Church that a temporal lord could or ought to be the head 
of the spirituality.” The affecting interview betv'een Sir Thomas and 
his daughter Margaret took place as he was being conducted back to the 
Tower after receiving sentence of death — that death which he had from 
the first foreseen, and prepared so well for by prayer and meditation in the 
solitude of his captivity. His execution on Tower Hill in the morning of 
6th July was a tragedy such as this or any other country has seldom wit- 
nessed, and it alone would be sufficient to cover Henry and his reign with 
infamy for all time. The news of the judicial murder sent a thrill of horror 
throughout Europe, and Courts and Academies vied with one another in de- 

» What Sir Thomas really said was : “ Suppose the Parliament would make a law that God 
should not be God, would you then say that God were not God ! Rich : Iso, sir, that would 
I not, sith no Parliament may make any such law ! ” “ No more,” said Sir Thomas (as Rich 
reported it), “ could the Parh'ament make the King Supreme Head of the Church ! 



3 i8 ST LAWRENCE of BRINDISI [July 6 

nouncing Henry as the Nero who had destroyed the Seneca of Christendom! 
Charles V, who was seldom moved even by tragic occurrences, publicly 
told the English Ambassador, Sir Thomas Elyot, that rather than have lost 
such a Counsellor, he would have gladly parted with the fairest city of his 
dominions ! The destruction of Sir Thomas joined to that of Cardinal Fisher, 
the Monks of the Charterhouse, and other innocent victims, sealed the 
Tudor Despot as a monster capable of any atrocity — as indeed he was ! 

In addition to his works already mentioned. Sir Thomas wrote in his 
captivity, the Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation^ and a Treatise on the 
Passion, unfinished at his death. Apart from his glorious martyrdom, 
his whole life was as mortified as that of a holy religious, and marked by 
the tenderest devotion to Our Lord, His Blessed Mother and Holy Church. 
His invincible humour was that of St Philip Neri, with whom, indeed, 
he seems to have had much in common, and had the unhappy King not 
fallen a prey to his own passions, there can be little doubt but that Sir 
Thomas, Cardinals Fisher and Wolsey, Bishop Tunstall and others of the 
circle, would have inaugurated that true reform of the English Church 
from within^ which was the guiding principle of the Council of Trent, 
and one which, as far as this country is concerned, would have prepared 
the ecclesiastical polity of this nation for the vast changes and complex 
conditions brought about by the New Learning, and the larger freedom 
rendered inevitable by that event. 

[The Canonization of St Thomas More and St John Fisher took place, 
19th May, 1935* Pope Pius XI, who had shown great personal 
interest in the united “causes,” delivered a Homily before the 
Solemn Mass at St Peter’s in which he declared the new Saints 
to be “ the leaders and chieftains of that illustrious band of men 
who from all classes of the people, and from every part of Great 
Britain, resisted the new errors with unflinching spirit, and in 
shedding their blood testified their loyal devotedness to the Holy See.”J 

JULY 6 

ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI (LORENZO DA BRINDISI) 

(1559-1619) 

Not even to the greatest Saints has it been often granted to combine in 
one person the linguistic ability of Cardinal Mezzofanti, the leadership 
of Peter the Hermit, and the missionary zeal of St Vincent Ferrer! Yet 
these wonderful gifts and qualities were all salient in St Lawrence of 

^ Tie Saga and the MTth of Sir Thomas More,” by Professor R. W. Chambers (Oxford 
University Press), is an original and brilliant study of the Sage and Martyr of the Renaissance 
who, in the words of this his latest critic, “ died because he stood in the path of violence which 
he was powerless to stop ” (p. 50). 



JuLy6] ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI 319 

Brindisi, who was born at the city of the “ Heel of Italy ” in 1 559. His 
father Guglielmo de Rossi or Russi, was of the middle rank, as was also 
his mother, Elizabeth Masella, but what really mattered was, both parents 
were good, practical Catholics. Their son seems to have been one of 
those many individuals of genius who, fortunately or unfortunately, 
never had a childhood in the sense of years of attraction to “ the things 
of a child ” — games, amusements and the like. He was placed for his 
schooling among the Theatine Fathers of Brindisi, where his progress 
was so rapid that when not much older than six, he was chosen to be the 
“ Boy-Bishop ” to preach to the children in Church on the Feast of the 
Holy Innocents. At the age of twelve, he lost his father, but by this 
time he was already proficient in Latin, far advanced enough to be able to 
go to Venice to continue his studies at the Choir-School of the Cathedral 
of St Mark. When sixteen, he entered the Capuchins, exchanging his 
baptismal name of Julius to Lawrence, but all during his life much of the 
courage, ability and firmness of the Roman general and consul, always 
shone forth from under the habit of the Franciscan Conventuals. His 
Superiors were not slow to perceive that their latest novice was a youth 
of exceptional talent. At the University of Padua, ^ where he went to 
pursue his higher studies, he amazed professors and students alike, though 
at that time the great Academy of the North of Italy was at the very 
zenith probably of its fame. Lawrence belonged to the fourth faculty of 
the University, that of philosophy, and he may have been still studying 
there, when that peripatetic wonder of the age, the “ Admirable 
Crichton,” arrived in 1581 and challenged the whole University, the 
gage being to confute the traditional interpretation of Aristotle, and 
expose the errors of the professors of mathematics 1 A vast undertaking! 
but one which the amazing young Scotsman is said to have successfully 
achieved in four days! What Lawrence, if present, thought of this 
temporary eclipse of the great luminary of the Schools is not recorded. 
His own talent lay in languages not philosophy, and he is said to have 
known the text of the Vulgate by heart I as well as to have mastered 
grammatically, Greek, Hebrew, Arabic and Chaldaic, a marvellous feat 
in one so young when we consider the terribly verbose and involved 
grammars in use in those days. Fr. Bellarmine — the future Cardinal — 
was about this time taking pity on struggling students, and writing for 
their benefit a simple hand-book to Hebrew, and thereby rendering 
himself a personal benefactor to every Semitic scholar in Europe. 

* The University of Padua was founded by Frederick II, iz2i. Dr WilL’am Harvey 
(1578-1657), discoverer of the circulation of the Wood, was one of its most famous graduates 
(M.b.), and his coat of arms, emblazoned on the wall of one of the corridors^ of the medical 
School, is pointed out as an object of special interest to EngUsh and American visitors. 



320 


ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI 


[July 6 

But while amassing philological learning of all kinds, Brother 
Lawrence did not neglect the true Science of the Saints. He was already 
remarkable for his piety, especially devotion to the Blessed Sacrament and 
to the Blessed Virgin, and this, joined to his great facility in discourse, 
marked him out as a very desirable occupant of the pulpit. While still 
only a deacon, he was sent to preach the Lenten and other courses at 
Venice, where the forces let loose by the paganism of the Renaissance 
and the heresies of Germany and Switzerland, not to mention tlie 
demoralizing Franco-Imperial wars of sixty years before, had produced 
a very unhappy state of affairs. Not only was. the Government un- 
catholic in much of its outlook, but vices such as revenge with its trail of 
murders, and luxury with its free indulgence in illicit love, made Venice 
a very fit field for missionary enterprise. Fra Lorenzo left aside that 
curse of the contemporary pulpit — pedantic quotations' and striving after 
effect. His sermons, clear, solid in matter, and from the heart, went right 
home, and produced an abundance of good. From Venice he passed through 
all the chief cities, preaching, confessing, and converting everywhere. 

In 1596, he went to live in Rome where his office of Definitor of his 
Order required his presence. At the request of the Sovereign Pontiff, 
Clement VIII, he preached courses of sermons in Chaldee to the Jews 
of the city, great numbers .of whom, like another Saint Paul, he 
“ confounded,” “ affirming that this is the Christ ” {Acts ix. 22). Indeed, 
by this time, Fr. Lawrence had became one of the great preachers of 
Italy, his sermons already filling several folio volumes, and all alike models 
of their kind. In 1602, he was chosen Vicar-General of his Order, an 
appellation changed in 1618 by Paul V to that of Minister-General, no 
doubt to distinguish it from the title of the official of every diocese who 
exercises jurisdiction in the name of the bishop. 

Like their great contemporaries, the Jesuits, the Capuchins were 
during all this period foremost in every enterprise for the good of souls. 
Not only in Italy, but all over Europe, the Fathers were to be found 
actively engaged in every Idnd of work, from preaching courses of sermons 
-to cooking food for the sick in the hospitals! In 1599) Fr. Lawrence 
was sent as Missionary Apostolic to Germany to aid in the building up 
of the Faith in the districts spiritually ravaged by heresy. The result of 
his labours was the foundation of three Convents of the Order at Vienna, 
Prague, and Graz respectively, but he actually began his work by nursing 
the sick during the awful pestilence then decimating the Empire. Like 
Napoleon during the fateful months that preceded his downfall, the Saint 
seemed to be everywhere, and in every place his presence secured some 
new triumph in the way of a fresh foundation, or what, no doubt, he would 
have considered far better — ^further conversion of souls to God. In the 



ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI 


July 6], 


32 » 


very year of his election as Vicar-General, 1602, he made a visitation of 
the Capuchin Provinces of Northern Italy, France and Spain, and such was 
his reputation for holiness and consummate ability that his presence in 
any quarter invariably aroused an interest such as is generally only caused 
by personages and results connected with startling secular occurrences! 

Until John Sobieski’s crowning victory over the Turks (1683), an 
invasion of Europe by the Mohammedans was always something of a 
probability in Continental politics. The naval triumph at Lepanto 
scotched but did not kill the menace, and after his' accession in 1595, 
Mohammed III showed his warlike intentions by overrunning and 
annexing a large part of Hungary. To obtain help from the German 
Princes the Emperor, Rudolph II, selected as his ambassador the famous 
Vicar-General of the Capuchins as the one most likely to effect this 
end. Fr. Lawrence’s great diplomatic skill, and his wide knowledge of 
languages and secular affairs, made him almost an ideal envoy, and very 
soon not only German but French soldiers were on their way to the 
threatened outposts of Christendom. 

The command of these heterogeneous contingents was entrusted to 
the Duke of Mercosur, a brave and skilful officer, and Governor of Brittany 
under Henry IV. But, as so often happens, the Imperialists on the 
very eve of battle found that garrisons, sickness, death, lines of com- 
munication, etc., had so reduced their numbers that not more than 
18,000 troops were available to assault the town, Albe Royal (Stuhl- 
weissfcnburg), then held by 80,000 Turks 1 Fr. Lawrence attended 
the Council of War, and he soon communicated his enthusiasm not 
only to the generals but to the soldiers. “ Let the attack,” he said, 

“ be made, God would make up for disparity of numbers ” Crucifix 
in hand he rode down the lines, imparting his blessing, and exhorting 
the regiments to save the Faith and Europe by their heroism. The attack 
that ensued was like the fierce struggle around Badajos in 1811. Time 
after time the storming parties mounted to the battlements only to be 
hurled back into the trenches, while the renowned Turkish artillery, 
levelled with the most deadly science, carried death and destruction every- 
where. Meanwhile, our Saint did more than exhort. Ever foremost 
amidst the carnage, his presence seemed a host in itself, and though shot 
fell in showers all around, he remained untouched! At length the city 
was taken, and its capture must be regarded as one of the greatest military 
successes of modern warfare. The Turks lost 30,000 men, and though 
they made a desperate effort to retake the place, they were again defeated — 
a victory which, under God, was generally attributed to the address and 
heartening courage of the wonderful Chaplain-General, Fr. Lawrence. 

But if Fr. Lawrence had largely saved the Empire by his exertions, he 

X 



322 


ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI 


[July 6 

was to do so still more by his example. He must be regarded as the 
successor of St Peter Canisius of the preceding century. He had resigned 
his office of Vicar-General of the Capuchins in 1 605, and was, therefore, 
free to undertake the work of preaching the Faith in Germany, a task 
which was now entrusted to him by the Holy See. In the pursuance of 
this object his invariable method was to explain the nature of the doctrine 
assailed by non-catholics, then to show how this had been obscured by 
ignorance and misunderstanding, and finally to support his case by 
copious references to holy Scripture. His unrivalled knowledge of 
biblical texts always gave him a great advantage, while this fact alone 
made a great impression on many persons who had been led to believe 
that Catholics, and especially Catholic priests, knew next to nothing of 
the Word of God! For a period of eight months he traversed Bavaria, 
Saxony, and the Palatinate, everywhere confirming his co-religionists, 
and drawing to the Church large numbers of Protestants who were 
attracted even more by his personal holiness and amiability than by the 
obvious learning with which he supported his expositions of the doctrines 
and practices of the Church. 

Not the least of the signal services rendered by this marvellous man 
to Catholicism, was in connection with the League founded in 1609 by 
Maximilian of Bavaria for the purpose of banding together the Catholic 
Princes and Prelates of Germany against the aggression of the Calvinists 
and their “ Evangelical Union.” The ruling idea of the Catholic League 
was to maintain that clause of the Peace of Augsburg (1555) enacting 
that Bishops and Abbots who became Protestants should not take their 
temporalities with them, i.c., their estates and revenues, a stipulation which 
had been constantly violated since that epoch-making treaty had been 
signed. The Emperor, Rudolph II, now sent Fr. Lawrence as his 
Ambassador to Madrid to induce the King of Spain, Philip III, one of 
the leading Princes of the House of Hapsburg, to join the League, and so 
render it a confederation of international force and authority. This 
important mission was duly effected, and next year Fr. Lawrence, on his 
return to Germany, was nominated by the Pope Nuncio at the Court of 
Maximilian of Bavaria, the Founder of the League as stated above, and by 
far the greatest of all the potentates who formed the general staff, so to 
speak, of that influential Union. . 

The success of the great Capuchin as a diplomatist was fully by this 
time established over most of Europe, and it is not surprising, therefore, 
that he should have been selected by the nobility and gentry of Naples as 
their representative to proceed to Spain to lodge their complaints 
concerning the Viceroy, Ossuna, before his Most Catholic Majesty. 
Naples had long been the Ireland of Spain, and ever since 1547, when 



ST LAWRENCE OF BRINDISI 


July 6] 


323 


the people rose up against the establishment of the Inquisition — as that 
institution was understood south of the Pyrenees — there had been periodic 
tumults and almost continual unrest. The moving spirit of the 
Neapolitans at this period was the Dominican Tomaso Campanella, 
a kind of Savonarola — an “ audacious Titan of the modern world ” — 
who seems to have kept the Faith in spite of communistic treatises like 
his Civitas Salts. Such a mission as this was very distasteful to Fr. 
Lawrence, who, worn out with labours, was seeking at this time some 
repose in the Monastery of Caserta. True to his generous principle of 
never refusing any work that was really for the popular good, he consented 
to go to Philip III, though assured that his own death was at hand. He 
was graciously received by the King, at whose initiative the whole matter 
of complaint was gone carefully into and the causes of offence removed. 
The Court was then sojourning at Lisbon which, with Portugal, had been 
annexed to Spain in 1580, and it was in the city of St Anthony of Padua 
that the Saint was seized with his last illness. He predicted the exact 
day of his death, and haying received with fervent piety the last Sacraments, 
this great servant of God and the Church departed this life on 22nd 
July 1619. 

From this brief and imperfect sketch it might be gathered that this 
great light had been raised up merely to shine in the purely public life of 
the Church of his age. But, as before remarked, Fr. Lawrence was, above 
all things, a man of God. His devotion to Our Lord’s presence in the 
Blessed Sacrament was such that he often went into ecstacies when saying 
Holy Mass or even when praying before the Altar. His love of Our Lady, 
too, found expression not only in constant devotion to her, but also in 
several beautiful hymns, and his favourite form of benediction was : 

“ May the Blessed Virgin with her Holy Child bless us.” His copious 
writings in Latin and Italian fill eight folios, and many of his controversial 
treatises are enriched by full quotations in the original from the Latin 
and Greek Fathers. The Beatification of this eminent labourer in the 
spiritual vineyard did not take place till 1783 (Pius VI), and his 
Canonization was almost equally protracted, not being finally achieved 
till 8th December, 1881, when Leo XIII enrolled Lawrence of Brindisi 
among the Saints. 

[The great sources for details of this strenuous and holy life, are 
. the Annalcs of the Capuchin Order, vol. iii., the Lyons 
edition, 1676. Many other items bearing on the Saint and 
his times are to be found in such works as Alzog’s Church 
History, vol. iii. and Guggenberger’s General History of the 
Christian Era, vol. ii.J 



BLESSED SIR ADRIAN FORTESCUE [July 8 


324 


JULY 8 ? 

FORTESCUE, THE BLESSED SIR ADRIAN, MARTYR 

(1476-1539) 

Among the paladins of the Conqueror who won fame and fortune with 
Duke William at Hastings was a doughty Norman knight, Richard le 
Fort, whose massive kite-shaped shield — son Fort i.cu — saved the 
Conqueror’s life, and with it the whole actual future of English history, 
when a Saxon battle-axe was within an ace of ending the one and changing 
the other for everl Richard of the Fort Ecu, soon to be Fortescue, 
founded a great family, whose chronicles are interwoven with the annals 
of the nation ever since the days of Sir John Fortescue, who wrote the 
De haudibus Legum Anglite., down to our own. 

Sir Adrian, grand-nephew of the famous Chief-Justice and author of 
the Tie Laudibtis, was the second son of Sir John Fortescue of Ponsborne, 
Hertfordshire. His mother, Alice Boleyn, was great-aunt of Henry 
VIII’s fatal enchantress and second Queen, a fact which of itself was 
sufficient later on to bring the subject of these remarks into close 
association with the Tudor Court with its uncertain favours and certain 
dangers! Sir Adrian married, some time before 1499, Anne Stonor, 
daughter of Sir Wm, Stonor of Henley-on-Thames, ancestor of the present 
Lord Camoys. For one of such ancient lineage and so highly connected 
as was Sir Adrian, the facts of his early life are singularly meagre. He 
was created a Knight of the Bath in 1503, and ten years later was present 
with Henry VIII at the famous stampede of French Knights and Squires 
known as the Battle of the Spurs. In 1517, he was a Gentleman of the 
King’s Privy Chamber and in that capacity waited upon His Highness’s 
Grace at the great banquet at Greenwich on 7 th July of that year, when 
250 young lords and gentlemen did suit and service to their Majesties, 
Cardinal Wolsey, and the “ Embassadors ” of the Empire, France, Aragon 
and Venice — a dazzling concourse of magnates. As all these waiting- 
gentlemen were bidden to “ be ready to serve the lords and ladies with 
drink! ” Mr Punch’s Irish Impromptu waiter had a precedent for his 
famous blunder anent the “ dhnnk,” which so greatly shocked the titled 
aunt of the expectant genteel family in the forties of last century! . 

In the following June, Sir Adrian lost his first wife, and her funeral 
which, with mortuary pomp and largesse to the poor, cost >^4^5 in present 
currency, gives one a good insight into the lavish ostentation of this 
“ spacious ” age even over its dead! Four years later, the Knight 
was on the seas with the Lord High Admiral, Thomas Howard, Earl of 
Surrey, raiding the coasts of Brittany and burning villages — all such “ dis- 


July 8] BLESSED SIR ADRIAN FORTESCUE 325 

pleasures ” being part of that futile war which wasted the nation’s treasure, 
caused misery to countless humble folk abroad, and of course made the 
grasping King cast longing eyes on the riches of the Church. In 1530, 
Sir Adrian married Anne, daughter of Sir Wm. Reade of Boarstall, Bucks, 
by whom he had three sons, one of whom was the upright and scholarly 
Sir John, Privy Councillor under Elizabeth, and her tutor in Latin and 
Greek. Two years later, Sir Adrian was enrolled among the Knights of 
Malta as a Knight of Devotion, by Sir William Weston of Sutton Place 
by Guildford, the Prior of the Order in England. From about this time 
his life ceases to be connected with Court service or wars on land and sea, 
and is devoted to his own domestic affairs, including a lawsuit with his 
relative, Sir William Stonor. What precisely caused Sir Adrian to fall 
under the displeasure of the Tudor Tyrant — though that was a circumstance 
by no means difficult to bring about 1 — is not clear, but in February, 1539, 
he was in the Tower, and charged with “ diverse and sundrie detestable 
and abhomynable treasons! ” No doubt he had refused the of Oath 
Supremacy, which surmise is the more certain as in the May following, 
he was included in the Bill of Attainder which the English Divan — once 
known as the Parliament of the Realm — passed at the imperious bidding 
of the Tudor Sultan. The new method of murder by Act of Parliament, 
which by the just retribution of Providence destroyed the following year 
its devisor, Thomas Cromwell, also enmeshed in its deadly folds the 
Venerable Countess of Salisbury, her sons and others. The exact date 
of Sir Adrian’s martyrdom on Tower Hill is unknown. The chronicles 
of the Grey Friars say the beheading was on 9th July. The English 
Martyrology gives 8 th July as the day. With him also perished Sir 
Thomas Dingley. 

From the first, Sir Adrian was regarded as a martyr by the Knights 
of Malta, and his pictures displaying the palm and aureola of martyrdom 
are treasured in the Church of St John at Valetta and in the College of 
St Paul at Rabata. Among the few relics of the martyr extant, the most 
prominent is a missal used by him, and now (or lately) in the possession 
of his descendant. Miss Fortescue Turville of Husbands Bosworth. Sir 
Adrian Fortescue was Beatified by Leo XIII, X3th May, 1895, together 
with Thos. Percy, Earl of Northumberland, and the Benedictine Abbots 
of Colchester, Glastonbury and Reading. 



326 


ST VERONICA DE JULIANIS 


[July 9 


JULY 9 

VERONICA DE JULIANIS, ST 
(1660-1727) 

Though God is wonderful in his Saints in all ages and places, there is 
a natural disposition to associate certain types of sanctity with particular 
epochs, perhaps from the fact that the special wants of the Church, and of 
souls, which are so largely brought about by the circumstances of the 
time, call for persons adapted to meet these diflBculties, and by the help of 
divine grace to overcome them. Veronica Giuliani would seem to be one 
of those whose days we might expect to find contemporary, or nearly so, 
with St Gertrude, Juliana of Norwich, Richard Rolle, and other great 
mystics of the Middle Ages, for from her cradle to her grave, her life was 
marked by wonders recalling those of the Saints of the epoch of Faith. 
Born at Mercatillo, in the Duchy of Urbino, Italy, 1660, the daughter 
of Francesco Giuliani and Benedetta Mancini, citizens of the town and 
persons of the rank of gentlefolk, she received the name of Ursula 
at her baptism. The prodigies that marked her life are said to have 
commenced when she was six months oldl for after pronouncing the 
name of the Blessed Trinity, at that tender age, she left her mother’s lap 
and walked with a firm step. A year later, she reproved a shopman who 
was giving a false measure of oil with the words : “ Be just ! God sees 
you I ” Like nearly all the Saints, her love for the poor commenced with 
her early childhood. She was not content merely with feeding the hungry 
and giving drink to the thirsty, but after the example of St Francis of 
Assisi, St Martin of Tours and others, even gave away portions of her 
own clothing to relieve the necessitous. From about the age of eleven, 
the subject of Our Lord’s Passion began to absorb her religious attention, 
though of course, this did not exclude a tender devotion to the Blessed 
Virgin or the other spiritual exercises which had been part and parcel of 
her life for several years. 

But as the first victories of all who strive not merely after perfection 
but to lead a life of ordinary goodness, must be over themselves, so it 
was with our Saint. Joined to this love of Our Saviour, His Blessed 
Mother, and so much else that was holy, was unfortunately a dictatorial 
spirit which made Ursula inclined to criticize adversely all those who 
did not manifest the same eagerness for the devotions which so strongly 
appealed to herself. This unfortunate trait is believed to have been largely 
cured through a vision which she had when about sixteen years of age, in 
which she saw her heart represented as a piece of steel I She also later accused 
herself of much false complacency about the time that her father was 



July 9] ST VERONICA DE JULIANIS 327 

appointed Intendant of Finance at Piacenza. As mere pleasure at temporal 
prosperity is not a sin, this self-satisfaction must in this case have amounted 
to a species of vanity, not unmixed perhaps with a certain share of contempt 
for others, for Veronica happily does not appear to have been at all 
afflicted by scruples. Indeed, her strong common sense shines out 
conspicuously through all her life, and as we shall see, she was in fact 
strong minded and practical not only in what pertained to devotion, but 
also in matters of ever}'day routine. 

In the excellent biographical summary of the life of St Veronica 
Giuliani given in the Supplement of the Breviary for July, it is stated 
that she was as a child, favoured with familiar intercourse with Our Lord 
and His Holy Mother, and that on one occasion, during a vision of the 
Blessed Virgin, the Saint vowed herself to the religious state. The 
accomplishment of this dedication was not fulfilled without much difficulty, 
for her father, who, as we have seen, had risen in the world, wished her to 
marry. Not only that, but even after the manner of Continental parents, 
he went out of his way to find what were, from the traditional and practical 
points of view, highly eligible suitors for his daughter’s handl But 
Ursula had already pledged herself to One above, and her refusal of an 
earthly espousal aroused much opposition at home. The result of this 
was that she became very ill, when her father seeing how bent she was on 
a life in the cloister, refused, like a good Catholic, to stand any longer in 
the way of what was clearly a true vocation, and he consented, though 
reluctantly, to his daughter entering a convent. In 1677, when she was 
seventeen years of age, Ursula was accepted as a novice at the Convent of 
the Poor Clares in Citta di Castello, Her devotion to the Passion of our 
Lord led her to select, in religion, the name of Veronica from that holy 
and heroic matron, Berenice, who, braving the Jewish mob and the rough 
Roman soldiers, forced her way through the tumult to our Lord on the 
way to Calvary, and wiped the sweat and blood from His dust-stained 
and swollen countenance. There was already something about Sister 
Veronica, as she now was, which distinguished her from the rest of the 
community, for at the conclusion of the ceremony of her reception, the 
Bishop remarked to the Abbess privately : “ I commend this new 

daughter to your special care, for she will one day be a great Saint 1 ” 
The way of transgressors is said to be hard. The way of those who strive 
to be perfect, most certainly is. From the first. Sister Veronica embraced 
the austere life of the Poor Clares in the very spirit in which it had been 
founded, and to the severities of the Order — the long fasts, vigils and 
silence — she added others of her own. These were chiefly a variety of 
humiliations with a view of abasing herself in the eyes of others, and also 
the resolution of accepting cheerfully and thankfully the trials which God 



ST VERONICA DE JULIANIS [July 9 

might be pleased to send her. Some of the latter came in the form of 
being misunderstood. Her life of holiness and mortification was for a 
time ascribed to worldly reasons — spiritual pride among them — and she 
was in consequence treated with much additional severity by her Superiors, 
though we think we may be pardoned for more than suspecting that all 
this was really with a view of " drawing out ” the full wealth of holiness 
hidden in this elect soul. 

In 1678 she was professed, and among the spiritual bouquets offered 
to Our Lord on this occasion by her was the expressed desire of suffering 
with Him for the conversion of sinners. It is said that, at this time, 
she was favoured again with a vision of Our Saviour carrying the Cross, 
and it was also during this period that she began to feel acute pain over 
her heart, and after her death the form of a cross was found impressed 
upon it. Other marks of the stigmata were vouchsafed in 1694 in the 
shape of the impression of the Crown of Thorns, which brought with it 
great and permanent pain. In order that all doubt as to the supernatural 
nature of this might be removed, the Bishop of the diocese ordered her 
to have a course of medical treatment, but no cure was the result. All 
this time, Sister Veronica was carrying out the very difficult duties of 
Mistress of Novices, and though she herself must be classed as a “ mystic,” 
she was very practical in her method of guiding those under her care. It 
is remarkable that she would never allow any of the novices to read books 
on Mystical Theology, a precaution which may have arisen from the fact 
that at that time a great many books professing to treat of that difficult 
subject, were neither more nor less than Jansenist publications, open or 
disguised I The greatest circumspection was required to sift the chaff 
from the wheat, and it was to reading, as a youth, one of these pernicious 
works, that St John Baptist de Rossi was wont to ascribe the attack of 
scruples which troubled him for so many years. She became Abbess of 
her house in 1716, and it is recorded as a proof of her practical good sense 
and forethought, that she not only caused a better system of water-pipes 
to be laid in to the convent, but also had the place enlarged, and other 
improvements of the kind effected. Towards the end of her life she was 
afflicted with apoplexy, and this complaint, which is regarded as almost 
the most severe of all diseases, at length proved fatal to her on 9th July, 
1727. She was declared Blessed by Pius VII, and in 1839 Canonized 
by Gregory XVI on the same day as saw the great Doctor of the Church, 
Alphonsus Liguori, enrolled among the Saints. St Veronica de Julianis 
is one of the Saints of the mystic life, and of intense interior suffering, 
and she is generally portrayed as crowned with thorns and bearing the 
cross. 



July 17] THE CARMELITE NUNS OF COMPIEGNE 


329 


JULY 17 

THE CARMELITE NUNS OF COMPIEGNE, 
BLESSED, MARTYRS 
(1794) 

Though a vast number of persons were done to death during the French 
Revolution out of hatred of religion, it is perhaps something more than 
a coincidence that two of the most dramatic tragedies in the names of 
“ Libertd, EgaliM and Confraternity ” should have been in connection 
with the Carmelite Order. The first of these was the terrible massacre of 
the clergy in the garden of the Carmes — the enclosure of the old 
Carmelite Monastery, Paris — ^when the Venerable Archbishop of Arles, 
the Bishops of Beauvais and Saintes, and over two hundred priests and 
others were shot, sabred or piked by the Jacobin yahoos on the 2 nd of 
September, 1792- The second pathetic occurrence is that which forms 
the subject of the following narrative. 

After the suppression of the religious Orders in France, 13th February, 
1790, the Carmelite nuns of Compibgne- — the town for ever associated 
with the capture of St Jeanne D’Arc by the Burgundians in May, 1430 — 
still endeavoured to continue, as well as circumstances would permit, 
their Community life of prayer and mortification, and it is possible that 
the Sisters might have escaped, at least with their lives, if it had not been 
for what in happier times would have been an incident of no special 
importance. In June, 1794, the nuns were all arrested, presumably for 
contravening the law of the “ Republic, one and indivisible,” against 
religious orders, and also for having refused, so it seems, the schismatical 
Oath of the “ Civil Constitution of the Clergy.”^ They were all incar- 
cerated in the common prison, by this time full of ” royalist ” prisoners, 
including whole families of suspected persons, brought in from the various 
towns and villages of the district. Among these interesting captives were 
sixteen English nuns of the Benedictine Convent of Cambrai, which had 
been founded in 1623', chiefly through the instrumentality of Dom William 
Barlow and Dom William Benet Jones, both monks of the same Order. 
The Abbess of the nuns at this time was Dame Mary Lucy Blyde,^ then 
(1794) sixty-five years of age, and both she and her Sisters in religion, 

^ Or the trouble may bare been over the oath concerning “ Egah'te,” which at that time had 
an erroneous significance as regards the Church, and was condemned by many of the bishops. 

* Dame Mary Lucy Blyde, O.S.B., last Abbess of Cambrai, was bom at Penistone, York- 
shire, 1729, and succeeded Abbess Maty Clare Knight, on the death of the latter, 30th October, 
1792. The nuns, after enduring a most rigorous imprisonment, were liberated, 24th April, 
and arrived in London on 4th May, 1795 * They were hospitably entertained by the Duke and 



330 THE CARMELITE NUNS OF COMPIEGNE [July 17 

long afterwards in England, carried with them cherished memories of 
the saintly Community whose imprisonment, but not whose martyrdom, 
it had been their lot to share. 

The Carmelite nuns had not long been in the prison, when orders 
came down to remove the whole Community to Paris for trial before the 
Revolutionary Tribunal. Some very interesting, and indeed .valuable, 
details were preserved by their Benedictine fellow-prisoners of the last 
days of the doomed Carmelites at Compifegne, as well as of the “ saint- 
like manner ” of their departure. “ We saw them embrace each other 
before they set off,” wrote one of the English nuns, “ and they took an 
affectionate leave of us by the motion of their hands arid other friendly 
gestures,” (Cath. Record Society^ vol. xiii., Miscellanea^ p. 30). 

The circumstances that led to the transfer of the Carmelite nuns to 
Paris was a letter to one of the Sisters written by an emigrant priest who 
had formerly been chaplain to the convent. In this letter a bishop, also 
an emigre.^ desired to convey his compliments to an old gentleman, cousin 
of one of the nuns, and a man by all accounts of considerable property. 
Corresponding with emigres had lately been made a capital offence in 
France, and this appears to have been the principal cause that started 
the prosecution which was to end in the destruction of this holy Com- 
munity. 

Upon their arrival in Paris, the nuns were placed in the Conciergerie, 
the gloomy prison which some nine months before, the hapless Marie 
Antoinette had left for the guillotine. The nuns entered the capital 
during the last but most awful throes of the Terror, when the Committee 
of Public Safety and its Attorney-General, Fouquier-Tinville^ were 
hurrying before the Revolutionary Tribunal and thence to the scaffold 
scores of persons daily. The “ trials ” of these unhappy victims were of 
course mere mockeries, the very fact of possessing an “ aristocratic ” 
name, or even of having been associated in any way with the fallen social 
order, being quite sufficient to ensure anyone’s death. It is not easy to 
state precisely the exact nature of the accusations that brought about the 
martyrdom of the Carmelite Community. On i6th July, 1794, the 
Mother Superior and her daughters in religion, sixteen in all, were 
arraigned before the Revolutionary Court. Leaving out of count that 
general hatred of religion which was at the bottom of nearly all the violence 
of the Jacobins, the charges brought against the Community were their 
having refused the Civil Oath of the Clergy or the other oath referred to. 

Duchess of Buckingham, and soon setded at Woolton, near Liverpool. In 1807, the nuns 
migrated to Salford Hall, near Evesham, and it was there that Abbess Bljde died, 12th August, 
1816. Finally, In 1838, the Community purchased Stanbrook Hall, Worcestershire, where it 
has since remained. The first wing of the present monastery was completed in r88o. 



July 17] THE CARMELITE NUNS OF COMPIEGNE 331 

and having remained together in common life after the promulgation of 
the law abolishing religious Orders in France, To these was added 
another “ offence,” curious indeed, but one exceedingly valuable both 
from the point of view of the future cause of beatification of those nuns, 
and of devotional history generally. Shortly before his deposition, the 
pious, but irresolute, Louis XVI had signed a decret consecrating his 
distracted Kingdom to the Sacred Heart. Adherence to this ” fanatical 
and royalist cult ” was now made a serious accusation against the nuns, 
upon whom the inevitable sentence of death was passed, the whole Com- 
munity receiving their long-expected fate with a happy serenity that 
astonished even the hard-hearted Judges and officials of the Court, as 
well as the blood-stained sans-culottes who crowded the galleries. On 
the 17th of July, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the 
Patroness of the Order, that blessed band went forth to death. As they 
left the Conciergerie, the nuns began to chant the Salve Regina^ to which, 
as the cortege passed through the streets, the Litany of Our Lady and 
other pious hymns and anthems were added. This wonderful constancy 
produced a most awe-inspiring effect, even the tricoteuses — the horrible 
hags who usually surged around the guillotine gloating over the victims — 
being for once hushed to silence at the sight of this sublime tragedy. 
The Mother Prioress, having, like the mother of the Maccabees, 
witnessed the deaths one by one of her spiritual children, submitted to 
the knife with the same Christian and heroic fortitude that had char- 
acterized the rest of the Community on this, surely not the least, glorious 
day in the historic annals of the ancient Church of France 1 

The bodies of the martyred Carmelites were thrown together into 
a sand-pit at Picpus, but their noble and resigned bearing, as well as their 
obvious guiltlessness of any crime, had made a deep impression. The 
echoes of the dying anthems and the vision of the stately dignity of the 
Sisters seemed to haunt the very scene of their death, and to impart a 
sacred atmosphere to the place of execution, the Barrier de Trone in the 
Faubourg St Antoine.^ 

By a dispensation of Providence, one of the nuns was absent at the 
time the rest of the Community was removed to Paris. She kept herself 
concealed till the 28 th of July, twelve days after her Sisters in 
religion had gone to their glorious death, after which time she was safe, 
for on that day (28th July, 1794) the monster Robespierre and twenty of 
his abetters perished on the scaffold, and the Terror automatically almost, 
came to an end. This good Sister used frequently to visit the English 

* Alison : History of Europe, iv., chap. sr. The historian, however, appears to be in 
error in one respect, for he describes the martyred Community as “ the whole of the Nuns 
of the Abbey of Montmarte.” 



332 


THE CARMELITE NUNS OF COMPIEGNE [July 17 


Benedictine nuns during the last months of their imprisonment at 
Compifegne. She gave them the names of her martyred Sisters as 
follows: — 


Soeur 

Croissi (Croissy) 

aged 49 


Trozelle (Trezel) 

33 

51 

» 

Haunisset (Hanisset) 

33 

52 

53 

Le Doine (Ledoine) Prioress 

33 

42 

55 

Pellerat (Pelras) 

33 

34 

55 

Piede Court 

33 

78 

55 

Brudeau (Brideau) 

53 

— 

55 

Brard 

33 

58 

53 

Chretien 

>3 

52 

53 

Dufour 

53 

— 

35 

Meuniere (Maunier) 

33 

29 

53 

Soiron 

53 

55^ 

3 ) 

Soiron 

33 

45' 

33 

Rousset (Roussel) 

33 

52 

33 

Vezolat (V^rolot) 

33 

30 

33 

De la Neuville 

33 

S 3 

of the 

clothes and shoes left behind 

in 

the prison by the 


Carmelites when they were taken to Paris, were given by the Mayor 
of the town to the Benedictines partly to supply the want of habits, etc., 
which had by that time, become very acute. Some of these precious relics 
are treasured at Stanbrook Abbey (Worcestershire), the modern represen- 
tative of the old Benedictine Convent of Cambrai, and together with the 
written account of the English Sisters of what took place during those 
poignant days in the summer of 1794, were of much value when the 
process of the martyred nuns was introduced at Rome, March 2I, 
1896. They were Beatified, 27th May, 1906. 

The Carmelite Nun who escaped death, and who supplied the names 
of her martyred Sisters to the imprisoned Benedictines, was Sister Mary 
of the Incarnation. She was still living in 1814 in Compifegne, with a 
few pious women, under the severe Carmelite rule, but apparently without 
formal Canonical approbation. 

\Catholic Record Society, vol. viii.. Miscellanea, pp. 25-38, J. 
Harwood Hill: Chronicle of the Christian Ages, vol ii. 
(Uppingham, 1859.).] Wilson: The Martyrs of Com- 
■pilgne (i 907). Private information. 

* Catherine and Theresa Soiron were servants of the Convent and not Reh'gi'ous. 


July 6-26] 


THE NUNS OF ORANGE 


333 


JULY 6-26 

THE NUNS OF ORANGE, FRANCE, BLESSED, MARTYRS 

(1794) 

On nth May, 1794, the Committee of Public Safety, then holding its 
Session in Paris, sent at the request of the “ Citizen ” Mignet, a Com- 
mission of Five to Orange, both to propagate the principles of the 
Revolution in the Departments of the Bouches-du-Rhone and Vaucluse, 
and also to arraign all persons suspected of anti-republican principles. The 
“ Court ” thus constituted, opened at Orange on 19th June, and continued 
to try and sentence “ offenders ” till the 4th of August, when the reign 
of Terror virtually ended. In less than two months, this ferocious 
tribunal sentenced more than 332 persons to death! Among these 
victims were thirty-two nuns of various Orders, all of whom showed, 
both during their captivity, trials and martyrdoms, the saintly devotion